Sharing Scientific Expertise to Restore Ecological Balance Around the World
A Zoo Partners With WISDOM Good Works
It is a fact of life – wherever you have zoos, you are likely to have unwanted or invasive species. From rodents to cockroaches to what are sometimes called (unkindy, we think) “nuisance birds” like sparrows, starlings and pigeons, these animals are drawn by the ready availability of shelter, food, and water.
One zoo in the Mountain West region is partnering with WISDOM Good Works to see if fertility-control technology could help alleviate the problems caused by invasive animals.
The new rodent fertility control pellets containing the technology have been placed in or near the peahen, turtle, and fox enclosures.
Our Project Director Martha Ellis notes that during the course of a 90-day trial, the impact in the peahen enclosure was dramatic. “When I first went to the zoo, you could regularly see rats,” she reported. “But each time I’ve gone back, I’ve seen fewer and fewer and 60 days into this, I didn’t see any.”
Issue With Poisons in Zoos
Using poisons has always created turmoil for zoo personnel. “Everyone at a zoo is animal-centric and you can only imagine how they felt about putting out poisons when they are trying to protect their animals’ safety and well-being.” Secondary poison of non-target species is a big concern as raptors and others consume poisoned rodents and the predators fall ill and die.
WISDOM Good Works has provided the fertility-control pellets for free to the zoo in return for the ability to test their efficacy as a solution to this problem and publish our results..
As the 90-day program winds down, WISDOM scientists will be reviewing the evidence, including consumption rates for the pellets, and video evidence both at the start and end of the project to see the change in population.
Once the study is complete and presented to the zoo, WISDOM will work with them on a sustainment plan to continue to keep rodent populations down at the zoo.
Ultimately, if the data proves that fertility-control technology is compelling and that zoos do not need to resort to toxic methods of managing invasive species, the goal will be to reach out to more zoos around the country.
Ways You Can Help
Our groundbreaking project needs volunteers in the greater Flagstaff, Arizona area, where we are based, to prepare supplies for use on the Mountain Zoo Project.
Specific jobs include the following:
- Packaging of product
- Capturing data
- Coordinating volunteers
Interested in this once-in-a-lifetime volunteer opportunity? Live in the greater Flagstaff, Arizona area? Then please sign up here so we can keep you informed about The Western Zoo Project and alert you when volunteer opportunities arise.
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