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India wants to distribute birth control pills to overdone animals

Do you know what a common Indian elephant, rhesus macaque, antilopa nilgau and wild pig? These four species are considered by the Indian Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment to be dangerously overwhelmed and call for the regulation of their numbers. How do they want to achieve it? Using birth control pills. Referred to by the Mongabay server.

India is beautiful, colorful and colorful. If it occupies only 2.4% of land area, it hosts 8% of all species of plants and animals. If we want to be more accurate, 45,000 plant species and 91,000 species of animals. The problem is that it is also home to 17% of the world's human population. And excessive inflating does not do good. The Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) does not think that it does little for people and nature. It is evidenced by quadrupeded global hot spots of biodiversity, hundreds of national parks and 500 reserves and an interconnected network of protected areas. However, some species of rich Indian fauna do not want to be content with life in areas defined by wildlife and expand into the surrounding area. Agricultural landscapes and suburbs where they are not welcome.

Blasting? No, just blocking reproduction

The MoEFCC has long sought to provide land for agricultural production and to increase the representation of pastures in the countryside. In doing so, it has to deal with the fragmentation of natural habitats and work to preserve stocks of endangered animals in their reserves. Therefore, it also focuses on minimizing conflicts between wild animals and humans. Blue buffalo (Antilopa nilgau) is not a problem in the reservation, but on a rice field yes. Like an elephant in a fruit orchard, or a wild boar or a macaque occupying the suburbs of the metropolis. Of course, the solution could be to regulate their expanding populations by blasting, but they do not see an effective solution in the MoEFCC. That's why, in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), she developed the "first project of its kind in the world" that focuses on passive control of wildlife reproduction.

The project, to which the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment has pumped 105 million rupees (and WII has contributed another 65), is to investigate the possibilities of practical use of the contraceptives of the four species mentioned. It's not easy. "There is a need to choose the right method that would work at a cost-effective level, even on a larger scale," says Vinod Mathur, coordinator of WII. That is why surgical veterinary sterilization has disappeared from the selection of methods. Its effectiveness is undeniable, but given the anticipated amount of necessary interventions, it is beyond financial possibilities. Vaccination (administration of immuno-contraceptive hormones to prevent ovulation of the ovary, females) was also considered. And also the administration of steroids interfering with hormonal cycles, anti-sperm vaccination, or the application of chemicals causing permanent infertility.

To everyone, according to your taste

"But it seems that different approaches will be needed in different situations," Vinod admits. There is a need to consider the development of the project: contraceptive rifles can be successful at the herd's antelope initially, but after every successful application, the escape distance will probably increase until the method becomes ineffective. In wild monkeys, there is a promising possibility of using food with medicated drugs. "But there is a problem to guess so that every macaque can eat only the prescribed dose. All drugs have their own side effects and nobody wants them to show up in affected animals. Or to interfere with non-target species. " Elephants can be repeatedly (over the years) captured by contraception from a safe distance. "However, there is a need to keep in mind the female contraceptives and how long," explains Vinod.

The test phase of the sterilization project should run for five years and will look for answers to just such questions. "There are minimal studies in the world that deal with depopulation," adds Vinod. "No one can expect fast results from us. Contraception only reduces population growth, but the animals will not lose weight. Longing elephants will be here for decades. "

The problem is people, not animals

Opinions on the passive regulation of wild animal reproduction are shared by Indian nature conservationists. One welcomes it as a non-invasive effort to reduce the growth of problematic populations, others warn of a significant distortion of the situation. "The four species are talking about overgrowth (in farmland), but we do not really know what their total numbers are," says Neha Sinha. There has never been a nationwide official census for these populations. It is therefore not appropriate to use the term "overgrowth" when their populations can be inflated only locally (and elsewhere they are in a plummet). "Conflict between animals and humans is a problem created by humans," writes EARS, a nonprofit, who is fighting a petition against the contraceptive project. "People reduce the size of the forests and force animals to migrate to the farmland."

Author: Radomír Dohnal

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