Sterilization

  • Deer herd increased 9,000% in 9 years on Staten Island, SLive, April 21, 2017Roaming the borough are between 1,918 and 2,188 deer, according to a new estimate from the city contractor giving vasectomies to borough bucks. That’s about four times the city’s last count and a 9,000 percent increase in the herd since 2008. A Parks Department contractor performed vasectomies on 642 adult bucks and 78 younger, non-breeding male deer without antlers during the first season of the city’s three year plan to cut down Staten Island’s herd.
  • Will deer sterilization thin a local herd?, Cincinnati.com, Jan 31, 2017Deer birth control exists, but hormones only last a few years. Then the neighborhood group read about surgical sterilization – a forever fix. White Buffalo president Anthony DeNicola and his team sterilized and tagged 41 does the first year, which DeNicola believed represented 90 percent of the females in the herd.

    Two deer operated upon last year didn’t wake up after surgery, likely because of preexisting health conditions. Two more died over the course of the year, both hit by cars on Interstate 75.
  • Michigan City Sterilizes Wild, Free-Ranging Deer, Outdoor Life, Jan 31, 2017Deer aren’t dogs. Or cats. Or horses. They’re wild animals. You can’t simply neuter them, dump them back into their habitat and stand around patting yourselves on the butt while telling each other what kind and gentle souls you are and expect everything to be just fine. The sterilization campaign was painted as an act of empathy – city residents wanted the deer population controlled, but it didn’t want to allow hunting or hunters to do it. Instead, they opted to dart, capture and sterilize deer. See, that’s what’s lost here. The folks who pushed so hard for “non-lethal” means of population control were quick to point out that they were “saving lives” by preventing hunters or sharp-shooters from killing deer, that they were doing the “humane” thing by controlling the population with birth control. In doing so, they likely aborted numerous fetuses (most of the does who underwent surgery were pregnant) and were more than willing to use wild, free-ranging wildlife as experimental test subjects. Because, surely, that’s a better option than hunting them.
  • Behind the scenes with Ann Arbor’s deer sterilization crew on a Friday night, MLive, Jan 28, 2017Since last Sunday, when the city-funded and state-permitted experimental operation started, the team has successfully sterilized 53 female deer and returned them to the urban wild in Ann Arbor. All of the deer that are sterilized are being outfitted with ear tags with numbers that they’ll wear back in the wild, and several will have radio collars to track their whereabouts for further research and followup in the next year.
  • Clifton Takes A Shot At Controlling Its Deer Population, WVXU, Jan 24, 2017Will sterilization alone will work to reduce the deer population in Cincinnati? In a guide to others considering it, CliftonDeer.org names two obstacles: “migration might offset attrition,” and “very low population goals might be impossible to achieve because of the difficulty to sterilize 100 percent of the does.”
  • More deer on Staten Island must get vasectomies than expected, NY Post, Nov 17, 2016The experimental program, meant to rein in Staten Island’s randy herd before it reproduces out of control, has sterilized 450 bucks in the island’s southwest corner, according to the Parks Department.

    The city’s vasectomy-only deer policy, a nationwide first, has been dismissed by wildlife experts as unfeasible. “You would have to get 90 to 95 percent of them for this to work,” White Buffalo’s Anthony DeNicola admitted to The Post last spring, due to the animals’ polyamorous habits. What’s more, even sterilized bucks stay revved up with lust throughout the mating season — which, some experts say, could continue for months if the does go into heat repeatedly. As the sex-crazed animals chase females and fight each other, dangerous encounters with humans increase.
  • White Buffalo Techniques: Surgical Sterilization, White Buffalo, 2016
  • WSB study: Sterilizing female deer doesn’t reduce deer populations, Wildlife Society Bulletin, Dec 8, 2016In a newly published six-year study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin, researchers found performing surgical sterilization on female deer was unsuccessful in lowering a population of overabundant deer. After reviewing the camera data, they determined there was a 38 percent decrease in sightings of adult females, a 79 percent decrease fawns, but an 873 percent increase in adult males. The authors hypothesized that the large number of adult male deer might be the result of continued estrus cycling until late winter or early spring in the female deer treated with tubal ligation. These females, the researchers suggest, attract more adult male deer to the campus.
  • Ecologist describes plan to surgically remove ovaries from Ann Arbor deer, MLive, Oct 25, 2016In addition to using bait to lure deer in the afternoon, DeNicola said there would be a “mobile session” at night in which his team would drive around neighborhoods with a law enforcement officer and dart deer spotted.

    “As much as it seems almost like lunacy to dart and sterilize deer, I can literally get every animal in that neighborhood, and then through attrition that population will decline, so that is something that you have to consider.” “We have pretty extensive data to date from eight different field research projects,” he said, suggesting Ann Arbor could see a 10-20 percent annual reduction in deer population through attrition in neighborhoods where sterilization is done. He said sterilization can cost about $1,000 to $1,200 per deer.

  • A Staten Island deer vasectomy up close, SILive, Sept 26, 2016DiSalvo is White Buffalo’s primary vet and performed eight more vasectomies after Number 164. Using a trailer means more can be done faster, though the surgeries are performed in the field too.
    nws deer tag.jpgA female deer in Mt. Loretto Unique Area in September 2016 that has been ear-tagged and radio collared by White Buffalo as part of the city’s three-year research study. White Buffalo did 169 vasectomies through Wednesday morning, the city said.
  • Comparison of treatment effort for immunocontraceptive vaccines and surgical sterilization in deer, Wildlife Society Bull, Sept 2016[abstract]Fertility control via immunocontraceptive vaccines or surgical sterilization often is considered for the management of deer populations in urban–suburban communities. Immunocontraceptive vaccines have been approved for hand-injection in deer and it has been suggested dart-injection would be more efficient because of added effort associated with live capture. Vaccines currently exhibit nonresponder rates in deer and require booster shots in following years to prolong efficacy, whereas surgical sterilization has 100% efficacy for the entirety of the life of the individual. However, sterilization is considered less efficient because of additional person-hours required during the first year of a project. Therefore, we recorded person-hours required for the capture process (capture, search, and handling) for treating deer via hand-injection and surgical sterilization during winter of 2013, 2014, or 2015 at sites in North Carolina, California, Maryland, New York, and Virginia. The data was recorded for 335 deer across 6 urban–suburban communities. Capture effort consisted of pursuit (i.e., person-hours to acquire shot opportunities) and search and handling (i.e., S&H; person-hours to locate anesthetized deer and vaccinate the individual). On average, 91% and 9% of person-hours were for pursuit and S&H, respectively. Surgical sterilization added an average of 153% to person-hours required for the capture process; however, considering lower efficacy and retreatment requirements of vaccines, sterilization may be more efficient for long-term control of deer in urban–suburban communities. Deer behavior varied across our 6 study sites and affected effort—more approachable deer required less effort to capture and treat with fertility control. Future research should include modelling deer behavior, effort, and efficacy over the long term to identify which situations are best suited for application of vaccine versus sterilization treatments in areas where lethal management of deer is impractical.
  • Oh Deer: Expert Suggests Vasectomies to Fix Wildlife’s Population Boom on Staten Island, News1, July 1, 2016An aerial survey by the city two years ago counted 763 deer in the borough, though some experts place that number at closer to 1,000, an exponential increase from the 24 deer counted in 2008. The animals are creating traffic hazards and increasing the threat of ticks and Lyme disease.

    After hashing out alternatives, the city hired DeNicola to bring the population down. His solution: birth control. More specifically, vasectomies. DeNicola says it’s surprisingly easy and can be done much faster than sterilizing females.
  • The Times, They Are A-Staying the Same, San Antonio Live, June 19, 2016So besides the fact that it’s impossible to get all the deer, and that one buck could impregnate pretty much all the does on the island, and the fact that tranquilizing deer is often fatal, not to mention expensive and time consuming and dangerous for the people doing it, besides all that, the very idea is contrary to its own purpose, which is to accord the deer the same rights as people.
  • New York City’s “Really Stupid Plan”, HumaneWatch, June 17, 2016The Humane Society of the United States has received poor marks from CharityWatch for wasting a good portion of the money it brings in on overhead costs. Readers might remember the absurd situation that played out in Michigan a few months ago. Now, history repeats itself in New York where HSUS and politicians plunge ahead with a delusional deer population plan.

    Staten Island’s deer population skyrocketed from 24 in 2008 to at least 793 in 2014—a 3,204 percent jump. Deer-vehicle collisions were up, the risk of tick-borne disease increased, and tree growth was halted by the herd’s grazing. Something had to be done. Enter HSUS and Mayor de Blasio with a bright idea: dish out $2 million to give every male deer a vasectomy. “It [vasectomy] is a smart plan,” asserted de Blasio. Curiously, the only ones who agree are radical animal rights groups like HSUS and NYCLASS, which gave $100,000 to de Blasio’s One New York Campaign (a donation now under FBI investigation).
  • $2M deer vasectomy plan leaps forward, SILive, June 7, 2016If the city’s plan works, all male deer roaming the borough would be sterilized starting with a $2 million effort during this fall’s rutting season. Hundreds of bucks would be tranquilized, captured, given vasectomies and released back onto Staten Island parkland over the course of the three-year study.
  • City’s deer strategy misses the target (editorial), SILive, May 17, 2016A deer specialist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources — which had to approve the Ann Arbor cull — called the Staten Island sterilization plan “short-sighted.” “This is a future solution to a problem that exists today,” deer specialist Chad Stewart said.
    The Parks Department plans to sterilize all male deer, starting with a $2 million effort during this fall’s mating season. Hundreds of bucks would be given vasectomies and released during the three-year study.
  • Staten Island’s buck sterilization plan: what could possibly go wrong?, CWDICK Lab, May 13, 2016Staten Island is confronting urban deer overabundance with a plan to sterilize all of its male deer, at an initial cost of about $5,000 per vasectomy. Animal rights groups praise the plan as forward looking and humane, but it is neither. It will be difficult to implement, wildly expensive, and it will alter the reproductive behavior of male and female deer in ways that increase vehicular collisions and physiological stress. A simple cull — possible even in Staten Island — would give the remaining deer a better quality of life and quickly alleviate threats deer pose to public health, property and natural areas.
  • ‘Lunacy’: Experts slam city’s Staten Island deer vasectomy plan, SILive, May 12, 2016Several wildlife experts said the plan won’t work because the city is ignoring basic deer biology and conventional herd management practices, not to mention past attempts.

    “This plan has very low likelihood of success,” said Paul Curtis, another ecologist at Cornell who was part of the city’s interagency deer task force. A few bucks in Ithaca, N.Y. were given vasectomies as part of a multi-year study on deer controls in and around the campus there. “We could only do three vasectomies — it wasn’t safe for the deer and wasn’t safe for us,” Curtis said.

    The Parks Department plans to sterilize all male deer roaming the borough, starting with a $2 million effort during this fall’s rutting season. Hundreds of bucks would be given vasectomies and released back onto Staten Island parkland during the three-year study.
  • Deer Sterilization Program Blamed For Deaths, CBS News, June 15, 2015

    “The Village Preservation Society of East Hampton, a civic group, successfully lobbied the village government to fund a doe sterilization program to reduce the deer population.

    The village board budgeted $30,000 for the experimental program, but the society said that is not enough and is seeking to raise $100,000 more in donations by the end of the summer. The cost of the program is estimated to be $1,000 per deer.”

  • Sterilize Staten Island’s male deer: City unveils plan to cut the herd, SILive, May 9, 2016The Parks Department plans to sterilize hundreds of male deer to help manage Staten Island’s out-of-control and expanding herd, starting as soon as this fall’s rutting season if the plan is approved by the state. “We do aim to get all of them in order to completely limit the reproduction,” said Sarah Aucoin, Chief of Wildlife and Education at Parks. The three-year effort is expected to eventually reduce the borough herd 10 to 30 percent. The city would spend $2 million this first year, with the annual cost going down as fewer males are left to sterilize.
  • Investigation Sought Over East Hampton Deer Sterilizations, 27East.com, Dec 16, 2015An animal rights activist who has been a strident critic of East Hampton Village’s effort to surgically sterilize deer says that a complaint he filed over the program has been referred to the state Attorney General’s office by another state agency.
  • Forecasting the Effects of Fertility Control on Overabundant Ungulates: White-Tailed Deer in the National Capital Region, PLOSone, Dec 2015Our approach confirms past analyses that fertility control is incapable of rapidly reducing deer abundance. Fertility control can be combined with culling to maintain a population below carrying capacity with a high probability of success.
  • Sterilization/Contraception, presentation to Mt. Lebanon, June 22, 2015, Dr Anthony DeNicola, Founder/President, White Buffalo Inc.Powerpoint presentation on costs/issues, status of response to previous PGC questions and other deer management issues.
  • Several Deer From Experimental Sterilization Program Die After Miscarriages, 27East Hampton.com, June 16, 2015Several female deer that had been surgically spayed in an experimental program in East Hampton Village this winter have died in recent weeks after having miscarriages or bearing still-born fawns.
    At least four of the sterilized female deer, clearly identifiable by the white plastic tags implanted on their ears, have died in the last three weeks, and the body of another apparently still-born fawn was found on the Maidstone Club golf course grounds.
    Whether the deaths of the deer are directly linked to the sterilization program has not been determined with certainty.
  • Deer control expert to Mt. Lebanon says culling still a possibility, Triblive.com, May 30, 2015 To control its deer population with surgical sterilization, Mt. Lebanon would need to spend more money and treat more deer than six communities have, a consultant working with the municipality says.
    DeNicola recently sterilized about 300 deer in three states. He estimates Mt. Lebanon would have to catch and treat just as many to lower its population without killing animals. If he cannot sterilize that many, he would need to include lethal culling to meet the municipality’s goals, he said.
    “(Mt. Lebanon) would need to sterilize well over 90 percent of the females. … You could need $250,000 to $300,000 to do that,” DeNicola said. “To capture 300 animals is a very substantial undertaking.”
  • Deer Sterilization Part II Called Off, The East Hampton Star, Feb 23 2015While animal rights activists felt the sterilization program more humane than an organized cull, some were nonetheless critical of a procedure they called cruel and ineffective. Several tagged does were found dead, at least one with a gunshot wound.
    “I think they made the right decision not to continue with the program in this weather,” said Dr. James Meyer, a large-animal veterinarian in East Hampton. Combined with this winter’s extreme cold, the stress of capture could result in kidney and heart damage, he said. “My concern would be operating on animals and releasing them at night, in very cold, extreme conditions, and letting them fend for themselves without a follow-up,” he said.
  • City of Fairfax deer sterilization project enters second year: Grant-funded effort costs roughly $1,000 per animal, FairfaxTimes.com, Jan 29, 2015Fairfax County conducts managed hunts with sharpshooters and also opens select county parks to bowhunting at a certain point in the year. The Fairfax City Council, uncomfortable with the idea of allowing hunting in its parks, in 2013 approved a grant-funded research project to sterilize deer as a method of population control. A local community group, Humane Deer Management, is raising the funds to support the project and has helped spearhead the effort.
  • First Phase Of Deer Spaying In East Hampton Village Wraps Up, 27east, Jan 20, 2015“We tag all the deer after the surgeries,” he explained, adding that there is a number on the tag for hunters to call for information about when the meat is safe to consume.

    As for seeing a decrease in population, Dr. DeNicola said residents can expect to see a decline after White Buffalo’s second year working in the village. “When we come back next year, hopefully, we’ll get 80 or 90 percent of the population, and people will really start to see the benefit,” he said.

    This year, the village pledged $30,000 toward the program, and an additional $105,000 was raised by the East Hampton Village Preservation Society.
  • Cornell University scientists accidentally create ‘buck magnets’ in effort to control deer population, Syracuse.com, Oct 16, 2014if a doe is not impregnated during the rut, it will enter heat again the following month and again the month after that. Because the ligated does were unable to become pregnant, they continued to produce chemical signals of readiness to reproduce — signals that can attract bucks from miles away.
  • Trying to limit the number of deer, with surprising results, WashingtonPost, Sept 29, 2014Cornell’s administrators chose to experiment with sterilizing many of the wild deer on campus — and the result was something that nobody anticipated. Cornell chose tubal ligation, which unlike chemical forms of birth control, is typically permanent and avoids the expense of capturing the same deer each year to maintain their infertility. At a cost of roughly $1,200 per deer, 77 does were captured and sterilized though tubal ligation. (Without the help of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the costs would have been higher.) However, because the ligated does were unable to become pregnant, they continued to produce chemical signals of readiness to reproduce — signals that can attract bucks from miles away– so the number of deer on campus did not decrease, just many more males than normal.
  • Response on Michigan Sportman dealing with news of $100 thousand raised to sterilize deer., Michigan-Sportsman.com, Sept 17, 2014the mortality rate of of putting a deer under to undergo the procedure is very high. Deer stress easily and stress kills them. Conversely, trapping and relocating deer also has a high mortality due to stress PLUS with relocating you run into spreading transmittable diseases.
  • Village Preservation Society Preps For Doe-Spaying Fundraising, East Hampton Village News, Jul 1, 2014
  • Plan to surgically sterilize female deer OKd in East Hampton, Newsday, June 30, 2014
  • Fairfax City deer spaying update: 18 does sterilized, more next year, Washington Post, Feb 17, 2014The program involves shooting the deer with tranquilizer darts, each equipped with a tracking device. DeNicola and a volunteer or two hauled the deer back to Fairfax City police headquarters, where a surgical center was set up in the sallyport and two veterinarians performed an ovariectomy.
  • Fairfax City deer spaying update: 18 does sterilized, more next year, Washington Post, Feb 17, 2014The program costs about $1,000 per sterilization, which is being paid for the first two years by Wildlife Rescue of Maryland. Fairfax City police did assign three officers per night to work overtime, both to assist DeNicola and ensure that no citizens were in harm’s way. Police Chief Rick Rappoport said the cost to taxpayers for the overtime was about $7,850.

    The program involves shooting the deer with tranquilizer darts, each equipped with a tracking device. DeNicola and a volunteer or two hauled the deer back to Fairfax City police headquarters, where a surgical center was set up in the sallyport and two veterinarians performed an ovariectomy.
  • From the woods to surgery and back again: Deer spaying begins in Fairfax City, Washington Post, Feb 3, 2014It’s the first time this has been tried in Virginia. By the end of day three, the group had “darted,” spayed and returned 11 female deer. DeNicola is hoping to spay and tag at least 20 does by the end of the week. He has also placed 20 motion-activated cameras around the woods to get a sense of how many deer are untagged and monitor the population, which he has estimated is about 50 to 75 total deer. The cost of the Fairfax City program is estimated to be about $50,000, and is being paid entirely, for the first two years, by donors to Wildlife Rescue.
  • Taxpayers doling out too much dough to control deer, critics charge, Fox News, Jan 18, 2014
  • NY Town spends $2,984 per deer in sterilization program, Legal Insurrection, Jan 13, 2014
  • Sterilization as an alternative deer control technique: a review, Human–Wildlife Interactions 6(2):273–282, Fall 2012l. 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 proportion of the population treated over time. Overall success will be greatest for closed or insular deer herds where the effects of immigration can be minimize
  • Managing an Overabundant Deer Population by Sterilization: Effects of Immigration, Stochasticity and the Capture Process, The Journal of Wildlife Management 70(1)In summary, we believe that sterilization may require a substantial effort to reduce a population within an acceptable time-span, even one that is demographically closed. In an open population, sterilization alone probably will not be effective at controlling deer overabundance, especially if immigration increases as population size decreases. While stakeholders may be averse to hunting, consistent lethal control—either alone or in combination with fertility control (e.g., sterilizing most easily captured individuals, followed by lethal removal of remaining, more trap-averse individuals)—may be the only way to sustainably reduce a local deer herd below current levels.
  • EFFECTS OF SURGICAL STERILIZATION UPON HOME RANGE AREA OF SUBURBAN WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) POPULATION, Aaron Beaudett, Cornell University Honor’s Thesis, 2007White-tailed deer will continue to be problematic in suburban environments as long as food and shelter remain plentiful. Coupled with high deer survival rates, communities must begin seeking effective and acceptable methods of population control to meet their management objectives. Sterilized female deer remained within the community and continued to compete for resources. This may buffer the community against population increases by limiting the amount of space available for immigration of reproductively active deer into the community. However, citizens must be willing to accept the cost of sterilizing deer, and continue to experience negative (vehicle accidents, plant damage etc.) associated with high deer densities
  • Evaluation of a Trap-Sterilize-Release Program for White-tailed Deer Management in Highland Park, Illinois, 2002-2005, 2005Our model predicts that time optimal surgical sterilization can control the deer population in Highland Park at the goal level if we can capture an annual average of 32% of the female population. A conservative estimate of our achieved capture rate is 42%. Long-term maintenance of the population will require sterilizing an average of 6.2 does per year. Our modeling results are supported by models created by Merrill et al. 2005 and suggest that sterilization is feasible in closed, or nearly closed populations.
  • Non-lethal Methods of Controlling Deer Population Growth, CT Agricultural Experiment Station, Plant Science Day 2002 Short Talk, Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan

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