Since 2000, HSI and The Humane Society of the United States have been working with scientists to develop a non-hormonal birth control method—called “immunocontraception”— to control breeding in confined wild animal populations. So far, the method has been used to successfully control populations of deer and horses in North America, as well as African elephants in South Africa.
In many parts of the world, free-ranging large, wild mammals are, unfortunately, a thing of the past. Instead, humans have confined many populations to large areas—such as reserves—with fences or other barriers. If allowed to breed normally, these confined populations tend to eventually outgrow their designated land. The inability to migrate elsewhere can lead to competition for resources, environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity. To prevent this, managers are faced with reducing the population through culling, translocation or other means. Such reactive methods are often cruel and do not address the root cause of the problem—animals will reproduce.
HSI continues to fund life-saving, cutting-edge research into immunocontraception as a humane alternative.
March 4, 2014
Elephants in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, located in KwaZulu Natal province on South Africa’s east coast, were treated for the first time with a contraceptive vaccine to control the population’s growth rate.
July 24, 2012
HSI presented our findings on elephant immunocontraception as a form of population control in July 2012 at the Fourth International Wildlife Management Congress in Durban, South Africa.
July 9, 2012
A report recaps twelve years of exciting and conclusive research into the field application of an immunocontraceptive that controls population growth rates of free-ranging African elephants.
August 31, 2010
In August 2010, HSI and The HSUS announced the results of a 10-year research project that demonstrates that contraception can be used to humanely and effectively control reproduction in African elephants in small to medium private game reserves.