I can’t leave this discussion alone. The discussion about how the Australian authorities are deciding how to deal with what they consider to be a national pest and destroyer of native wildlife: the feral cat.
There must be a more humane, reasonable and decent way of dealing with the feral cats other than poisoning them, shooting them or in any other way killing them en masse. The authorities in Australia have ruled out TNR. It’s too humane and too slow and they think it’s ineffective.
What about injection contraception? Here we have the ability to help control feral cat populations by catching the cat and then simply injecting them in the haunch. It would appear to be a method which may prove attractive even to the Australians because it is very simple, it is expedient and therefore it is cheap.
The only problem is that it is not yet available. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are researching a “vectored contraception” which works rather like a vaccine against pregnancy. The jab causes muscle cells to block a hormone which is required to reproduce. The hormone is essential in the making of eggs and for the maturing of sperm. Blocking the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) makes mammals infertile it is said.
The summary of the research says that the development of nonsurgical methods for long-term contraception is a challenge. They show that injection into the muscles of a “replication-incompetent, recombinant adeno-associated virus designed to express an antibody that binds…..a master regulator of reproduction in invertebrates results in long-term infertility in male and female mice.”
At 2016, the Caltech study appears to be have been extended to the Cincinnati Zoo were a pilot program is taking place with female cats.
I hope that the Australian authorities read this article, investigate the matter further, contact Caltech, help fund their research, do their own research and then come to the conclusion that this sort of contraceptive program is the best way forward. What chance of that 😉 !