Remembering Jay Kirkpatrick, pioneer of wildlife fertility control

Dec. 22, 2015 - Last week brought the sad news that Jay Kirkpatrick, PhD, had passed away at age 75.

Jay helped pioneer the use of the vaccine PZP (porcine zona pellucida) as a safe and humane way to manage populations of wild horses, bison and urban deer.

He will be much missed by the scientists, volunteers and advocates who worked with him to find better ways to address the conflicts that arise between human endeavors and wildlife.

picture of Jay Kirkpatrick

Jay's work presented an alternative to roundups, relocations, surgical sterilization and the culling of wild horses, bison, deer and elephants. His research is published in numerous journals. There's an excellent feature story about Jay and his work here.

Jay was the founder of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Mont., which produces PZP on a not-for-profit basis for use worldwide, and which trains volunteers in how to administer the vaccine.

For all of those interested in Jay's work, we want to share this letter, from the Center, which was released last week:

It is with great sadness that we must inform you that Dr. Kirkpatrick passed away on December 16th from a short but serious illness.

It is an undeniable truth that his was the face of the wildlife fertility control endeavor for the past 45 years and he will be sorely missed in more ways than we can count.  In a larger sense, however, the very effort and successful paradigm that he helped to create and build is alive and well.  The Science and Conservation Center remains active and continues to produce and carry out the quality control for the PZP vaccine, distribute it, maintain the database, and train field personnel to deliver it effectively.  In short, our operation and progress continues to move forth. 

We expect operations to go on as usual, for wild horses, urban deer., captive zoo animals, bison and with the collaboration of our African friends with regard to elephants.  The loss of a key person in any endeavor is always a difficult transition, but we have been preparing for all sorts of contingencies for quite a few years, recognizing that life is full of changes and that the team is always larger than the individual.  Perhaps the greatest tribute we can pay to Dr. Kirkpatrick, is to continue this valuable work on behalf of our struggling wildlife in a seamless manner.

Despite this tragic but temporary setback, we remain steadfast in providing the purest form of the porcine zona pellucida vaccine and facilitating its use in wildlife and we look forward to working with you.

Kimberly M. Frank,
Chief Operating Officer

You can learn more about the Science and Conservation Center at its website.

Do you like this post?
Information: Animal Fertility Control Vaccine
Learn more about managing wildlife with fertility vaccine