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Fertility suppression of some wildlife species in southern Africa—a review

Bertschinger, HJ, Caldwell, P
Reproduction in domestic animals 2016 v.51 Suppl S1 pp. 18-24
Elephantidae, Lycaon pictus, aggression, birds, breeding, bulls, conservation areas, disease transmission, habitat destruction, herbivores, hormonal regulation, immunocontraception, predators, prey species, risk, wildlife, zoos, South Africa
Generally speaking, southern Africa's wildlife populations in small‐to‐medium‐sized protected game reserves (10,000–65,000 ha) reproduce at rapid rates which often lead overpopulation of certain species. Most commonly these are large predators such as lions, African wild dogs and cheetahs, and elephants. Overpopulation of large predators leads to depletion of prey species, breakouts into neighbouring communities and increased risks for disease transmission. An overabundance of elephants leads to habitat destruction which is to the detriment of not only other herbivores but also certain bird species. By far, the most acceptable and effective method of population control is contraception. Another problem, particularly in South Africa, is the large numbers of large predators that are held in zoos, wildlife sanctuaries or captive breeding facilities. Once again, there is a need for contraception to control the rate of reproduction. In this review, we discuss the methods that have been most commonly used for some wildlife species in southern Africa. The methods include hormonal control and immunocontraception. We also address the problem of androgen‐related aggressive behaviours in elephant bulls and giraffe males and present solutions that have been used to ameliorate such behaviours.