Fertility control vaccine – A better boar control?
Wild pigs are newcomers to the United States. Their populations are expanding ever faster in the absence of fertility control. And so is the damage done to the environment by this invasive species. None of the known methods of boar control, eradication through shooting, aerial hunting, trapping, have proven effective. Wholesale poisoning is pretty much out of the question because of the unpredictable damage to the environment and wildlife.
Moreover, wild boar react not only by learning to avoid the downsides of population control. They simply outbreed any losses. In addition, hunters often transport the boar from one area to another to add this exciting game to the wildlife. Worse yet, wild pigs can add considerably to the annual income of a ranch. Ranchers import and protect the boar as a cash crop.
A fertility control vaccine is a promising new approach to the control of wild pig populations.
Hunters stand accused of transporting boar from one established habitat to another to plant these big game animals near their hunting grounds. Landowners, on the other hand, have learned to use the boar as a convenient source of additional income.
Fertility control vaccine is a new alternative method of limiting the uncontrolled growth of wild pig populations. But which one is better, more cost-effective, and has lasting long-term effects? That is the question for responsible landowners and government agencies alike.
In 2014, The National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA as the lead agency for about half a dozen research groups and researchers published the results of a study of the use of the immunocontraceptive vaccine (GonaCon™) on captive female boar as a fertility control vaccine alternative for population controlling of wild pigs.
The research group used an injectable form of GonaCon (GnRH) for long-term population control by injecting free living sows with the vaccine. The single dose injection was limited to a test period of four to six years. During the test, no negative effects or side effects manifested themselves and prevented the use of the vaccine for fertility control vaccine in sows.
The sows studied in this fertility control vaccine experiment did not show any negative effects of the drug on the behavior or physiology of the sows. The ten test animals received their birth control vaccine injection and then lived free in the woodland in the West Midlands region of England. Eleven adult females were given saline injections only as a control group.
During the test, researchers studied the movement and activity patterns of the test animals using telemetry collars. At the end of the study period, the sows were captured in order to measure the levels of GnRH antibodies.
Four of five vaccinated sows had antibody levels that effectively prevented pregnancy. Three females were pregnant at the time of the vaccine injection. Pregnant vaccinated sows did not behave or act differently than other members of the study group or free-living females.
Daily movements and speed of movements remained within normal parameters for the study participants. The behavior of treated and untreated females during daily movement and activity cycles did not show any significant differences.
Considering these results of their study, the researchers concluded that the injectionable anti-GnHR vaccine could be more widely used as a means of controlling nuisance boar populations instead of eradication with traditional, yet ineffective, birth control methods.
The new birth control approach is particularly promising for the burgeoning nuisance boar populations in cities and city parks where classic eradication methods through hunting and wholesale culling is not possible without endangering human populations.
Finally, for practical reasons, an oral form of the vaccine would make the use of the birth control drug much easier. At any rate, replacing eradication measures with fertility control vaccine is, in my opinion, the way to solve the problem of boar overpopulation. Guns, helicopters, machine weapons, and other inhumane methods will not accomplish the job as Texas is teaching us.
Nevertheless, commercial and sports interests have set the lust of unbridled killing by hunters and the pocketbook of business owners before reason.