Mark Your Calendars: Two Key Conferences Address Fertility Control in Wildlife

We are pleased to announce important back-to-back meetings on wildlife contraception to be held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from August 28-31, 2012. The two forums are open to scientists, wildlife agency managers, animal welfare representatives and the general public. The first, on August 28, is a Wild Horse Symposium sponsored by the Annenberg Foundation. It is followed by the three-day 7th International Conference on Fertility Control in Wildlife, from August 29-31.

Tentative agenda topics for the wild horse meeting include Economics of Wild Horse Fertility Control on Public Lands, Regulatory Status of Immunocontraceptive Vaccines for Wild Horses, Using Immunocontraception to Manage Wild Horse Sanctuaries, and Options for Accessing and Delivering Contraceptives to Wild Horses and Burros. The second conference will cover, among other topics, Population Level Effects of Fertility Control, Sociopolitical Issues in Wildlife Fertility Control, Development of Fertility Control Tools, Wildlife Management Applications of Fertility Control, Fertility Control in Captive Wildlife, and Development of Delivery Systems.

AWI eagerly anticipates this international fertility control conference as it represents a new pinnacle in recognizing birth control as a humane, effective, publicly acceptable tool for management of wildlife. AWI’s founding president, Christine Stevens, was a strong proponent of wildlife birth control, and for decades AWI has supported it by providing funding, encouraging field research, and educating wildlife managers, biologists, politicians and the general public about its viability. In 1978, we gratefully acknowledged in the pages of our magazine the stalwart efforts of Sen. John Melcher, who secured Congressional support for up to $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research into animal birth control - the first time that federal funds were made available for this purpose.

As the meetings will surely highlight, immunocontraception has proven safe and successful. There is a critical need to overcome political hurdles and expand utilization now of this humane method of wildlife management.

For further information, or to register for either or both events, please visit www.wildlifeconference7.org. We look forward to seeing you there!