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Animals 2015, 5(4), 1329-1344; doi:10.3390/ani5040414

Finding the Balance: Fertility Control for the Management of Fragmented Populations of a Threatened Rock-Wallaby Species

1
School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, M092, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
2
Department of Parks and Wildlife, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia
3
Perth Zoo, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kate Littin, Trudy Sharp and Ngaio Beausoleil
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 13 November 2015 / Accepted: 10 December 2015 / Published: 16 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [304 KB, uploaded 16 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Populations of Australian marsupials can become overabundant, resulting in detrimental impacts on the environment. For example, the threatened black-flanked rock-wallaby ( Petrogale lateralis lateralis ) has previously been perceived as overabundant and thus ‘unwanted’ when they graze crops and cause habitat degradation. Hormonally-induced fertility control has been increasingly used to manage population size in other marsupials where alternative management options are not viable. We tested whether deslorelin, a superagonist of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), would suppress reproduction in free-living adult female rock-wallabies without adversely impacting body condition. We trapped, synchronised reproduction and allocated female rock-wallabies to a placebo implant (control, n = 22), one (n = 22) or two (n = 20) subcutaneous implants of deslorelin. Females were then recaptured over the following 36 months to monitor reproduction, including Luteinising Hormone levels, and body condition. Following treatment, diapaused blastocysts reactivated in five females and the resulting young were carried through to weaning. No wallabies treated with deslorelin, conceivede a new young for at least 27 months. We did not observe adverse effects on body condition on treated females. We conclude that deslorelin implants are effective for the medium-term suppression of reproduction in female black-flanked rock-wallabies and for managing overabundant populations of some marsupials. View Full-Text
Keywords: Rock-wallaby; Petrogale lateralis; deslorelin; fertility control; wildlife management; overabundance; free-living; hormonal implants Rock-wallaby; Petrogale lateralis; deslorelin; fertility control; wildlife management; overabundance; free-living; hormonal implants
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Willers, N.; Martin, G.B.; Matson, P.; Mawson, P.R.; Morris, K.; Bencini, R. Finding the Balance: Fertility Control for the Management of Fragmented Populations of a Threatened Rock-Wallaby Species. Animals 2015, 5, 1329-1344.

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