For the last three decades, scientists have explored fertility control in wildlife.
White Buffalo Inc. has been intimately involved in much of this research.
Management of white-tailed deer population densities has conventionally focused on lethal removal (e.g., sharpshooting or hunting). In an increasing number of communities, however, lethal deer management strategies have become impractical for legal, safety, and ethical reasons. The impracticality of implementing lethal strategies has fostered an interest in alternatives, including contraception and surgical sterilization. Surgery is currently the only reliable means to permanently sterilize female deer and has been demonstrated to be safe for the treated animals. Sterilization may provide an alternative deer management technique for reducing suburban herds in communities willing to commit to a long-term effort, and where lethal deer removal is impractical. Surgical sterilization is scale-limited based on the ability to capture and sterilize 80% or more of the female deer in a population and maintain that level each field season. Overall success will be greatest for areas where the effects of immigration are minimized. White Buffalo Inc. has trained local volunteers to handle immobilized deer and veterinarians to conduct the surgical procedure. We have documented a 50% decrease in cost with volunteer involvement.
Download our summary on surgical sterilization.