A new birth control vaccine for white-tailed deer — a growing nuisance in urban areas for gardens and landscaping — eliminates the dangerous reproductive behavior behind the annual autumn surge in automobile-deer collisions. The vaccine, just becoming commercially available in some U.S. states, was the topic of a report in Denver at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Named GonaCon™, the vaccine also shows promise for reducing or eliminating some of the undesirable behaviors in household pets and farm animals that have not been spayed or neutered. Among them: scent-marking, fighting, caterwauling and wandering in cats, and aggressive behavior in horses. That’s because GonaCon™ blocks the action of the male and female sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, that spark such behaviors. It also has potential applications in prairie dogs, wild horses and feral dogs.
David A. Goldade, who reported on the vaccine, said that blocking action is one of GonaCon™’s multiple advantages over other birth control methods developed to cope with the population explosion of white-tailed deer in many parts of the country. In addition to the damage to gardens and expensive landscaping plants, deer in urban areas can attract mountain lions and other predators into residential areas. And on both urban and rural roads, 1.5 million deer-auto collisions kill at least 150 people annually and cause more than $1 billion in property damage.” —Not tonight deer: A new birth control vaccine helps reduce urban deer damage