SIMON Corbell and Shane Rattenbury have announced funding for a research trial into the use of a fertility control vaccine as a potential non-lethal approach to Eastern Grey Kangaroo management.
“The government is committed to the management of the endangered grasslands and woodlands that in some areas are being impacted by large populations of kangaroos,” Simon said.
Shane said he was pleased that Territory and Municipal Services and Environment and Planning Directorate have been able to work successfully towards a fertility trial.
“It is important that the ACT Government continues to investigate non-lethal alternatives to manage the population of eastern grey kangaroos and protect the biodiversity of Canberra’s nature reserves,” Shane said.
The ACT Government has partnered with CSIRO to undertake research on the use of “GonaCon” for controlling the fertility of Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
“GonaCon” is a Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) immunocontraceptive vaccine that is being researched overseas to control the fertility of various species including white tailed deer, bison and boar.
The ACT research builds on work done by ecologists in collaboration with CSIRO and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, which have provided encouraging results. A single injection of “GonaCon” blocked the reproductive cycle for six years in a high proportion of female Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
The first stage of the project will research a dart delivery system for humanely administering the vaccine to female Eastern Grey Kangaroos. This includes the investigation of the registration of the drug in Australia.
The second stage of the project will conduct field trials of the vaccine at various small sites in the ACT.
“It appears likely from the early trials that GonaCon could provide a viable method for controlling some kangaroo populations, particularly if it could be administered remotely in a dart,” Simon said.
“If these trials are successful, the government will investigate this as a possible non-lethal alternative for the management of kangaroos at some sites in the ACT.
“This is a positive step for the ACT Government as we continue to consider all feasible and efficient ways to manage the condition of our environment,” Mr Corbell said.
The project is approved by the University of Canberra Animal Ethics Committee.
[Photo via wikipedia]