Science and Conservation Center sends fertility control vaccine worldwide

Billings, Mont., Oct. 23, 2014 -- The Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Mont., develops alternative wildlife management approaches for worldwide use, where traditional lethal removal is no longer legal or safe.

Senior scientist Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick says this past year, it's estimated the center treated 2,700 animals globally with its vaccines. They send doses for zoo animals from Australia to the Middle East, wild horses across North America and Europe, bison and urban deer. The scientists at the center have also trained South Africans to use the vaccines for elephant herds in South Africa.

Most recently, the center has provided the San Felipe Pueblo in New Mexico to safely and humanely control the wild horse population.

"It is the only one of its kind in the world, not just the region,” Dr. Kirkpatrick says. “This is the only one that produces a federally approved contraceptive vaccine.

The center also holds trainings for people to learn how to administer the vaccine to animals. Kirkpatrick says they are in their 17th year of operations.

He says many people think the wildlife population issues with wild horses, are that it's hard on the range or they compete with other wildlife. But the problem with large wild horse populations is reproduction, and removing them doesn't solve that. Kirkpatrick says wild horses cost American taxpayers $8 million a year.

The vaccines are federally approved, and allow land managers to fine-tune population growth.

Originally aired on KULR-TV, Billings, Oct. 23, 2014

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Information: Animal Fertility Control Vaccine
Learn more about managing wildlife with fertility vaccine