|Background Mission/Goals/Strategies Projects|
Alternative to Culling
Development of a longer term contraceptive for African elephants may
reduce culling pressures
Overabundance of African elephants is a major conservation and animal welfare problem in parts of Africa because of limited habitat. Vegetation impacts, loss of biodiversity, human-elephant conflict, limited water supplies, and even starvation of elephants themselves are the consequences. What can be done?
Contraceptive vaccines based
on porcine zona pellucida (pZP) proteins have proven safe and effective in
controlling reproduction of elephants in game parks. But the current pZP
vaccine requires annual boosters, which makes it impractical for
broad-scale use in the field.
A long-lasting, single-dose
contraceptive vaccine could become a powerful management tool for the
non-lethal, humane control of elephant populations. SpayVac is a
liposome-based pZP vaccine that has delivered multi-year contraception in
several species of deer, seals, and horses. Elephant Care International is
supporting researchers who are scheduling field tests in South Africa and
Botswana to verify whether this technology will provide long-lasting
contraception for African elephants.