AZA Wildlife Contraception Center
The AZA Wildlife Contraception Center (WCC), located and hosted by the Saint Louis Zoo, is responsible for assessing factors such as contraception type efficacy, reversibility, and safety; an animal’s age, reproductive status, behavioral and social needs, and delivery system practicality when recommending appropriate contraception methods for the animals cared for in AZA-accredited institutions.
Zoo professionals provide the highest standards of care for the animals they manage; this includes ensuring that they do not breed more animals than can be properly cared for in AZA-accredited institutions, certified related facilities, or by approved non-members. Contraception is an essential, proven, and humane tool for animal population management that facilitates individuals to live in vital social and family groups.
The WCC scientific staff and Advisory Board assist Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs), Species Survival Plan® Program Coordinators, Curators, and Veterinarians by recommending taxon-specific contraceptive types and dosages, contributing this valuable information to AZA Animal Care Manuals and Regional Collection Plans, as well as by working with commercial partners to make these contraceptives available and affordable.
The WCC maintains databases that monitor contraception uses, analyzes data on efficacy, reversibility and safety, conducts comprehensive pathologic examinations on reproductive tracts, initiates and coordinates research trials of new contraception methods, monitors external contraception research trials, and provides data to the Food and Drug Administration.
What's more, the contraceptive research carried out in zoos and aquariums has direct applications to the management of in-situ animal populations found in National Parks and Reserves. The Science and Conservation Center at Zoo Montana has applied this technology to the management of the wild horse population of Assateague Island National Seashore under the sponsorship of the National Park Service, white-tailed deer in seven states, African elephants (to eliminate the need to legally kill them in African National Parks), water buffalo in Guam, feral burros in Virgin Islands National Park, and elk on Point Reyes National Seashore.
To speak with someone at, or schedule an appointment with, the WCC:
Contact Contraception Director Cheryl Asa or Coordinator Sally Boutelle.