Md. Approves Birth Control for Deer

New efforts to control deer population in Md.

Sunday, May 15, 2011  |  Updated 10:28 AM EDT
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Md. Approves Birth Control for Deer

Steve Bower, Shutterstock

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Maryland is the first state to approve birth control for deer.

According to the Cumberland Times-News, state wildlife officials created policies for Gonacon's use over the past several weeks. The Times-News interviewed Paul Peditto, the director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service. ``This is the only immuno-contraceptive for deer that has federal approval,'' said Peditto. But he cautioned that the contracpetive is no ``magic bullet'' for population control.

Gonacon's use is limited, because of the manpower and expense required.  Deer must first be tranquilized with a dart gun before Gonacon can be injected, and the Environmental Protection Agency requires that any deer that is injected also be tagged.

According to Peditto, it costs up to $1,000 to apply the birth control to a deer. 

A scientist with the Humane Society of the United States hopes that the contraceptive drug is a step along the way to better deer population controls short of shooting and killing the animals.  The Society's Stephanie Boyles said, "there is a demand for nonlethal options."
 

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