Karol Bagh | IAS GS Foundation Course | 29 May, 6 PM Call Us
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Biodiversity & Environment

Immunocontraceptives for Wildlife Population Management

  • 08 Jul 2019
  • 3 min read

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a project for undertaking ‘immunocontraceptive measures’ for population management of wild animals.

  • The project includes four species of wild animals, viz. Elephant, Wild boar, Monkeys and Blue Bull (Nilgai).
    • Pilot project will begin in Uttarakhand and then implemented in rest of the country.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the National Institute of Immunology (NII) will develop a protocol of immunocontraception.


  • Immunocontraception is a birth control method that uses the body's immune response to prevent pregnancy. It is a technology that uses a female animal’s immune system to build a protein around the egg that prevents it from fertilising.
  • It is a humane, nonlethal solution to conflicts between people and wildlife as well as a solution to local problems of animal overabundance.
  • Immunocontraception can also help reduce the overproduction of captive animals in zoos and other facilities.
  • It is also a novel approach to the development of family planning methods.
    • Despite the availability of contraceptive methods, there are over one million elective abortions globally each year due to unintended pregnancies, having devastating impact on reproductive health of women worldwide.
    • This highlights the need for the development of newer and improved contraceptive methods.


  • Human-animal conflict has emerged as a major challenge in managing wildlife in the country.
    • Human-elephant conflict causes the maximum number of casualties every year. According to reply tabled in Parliament on June 28, 2019, nearly 494 persons were killed by elephants in 2018.
    • Between 2014 and March 2019, 2,398 people died in elephant attack in the country, with West Bengal accounting for maximum number of such deaths.


  • It requires mathematical modelling and knowing the adult female population in the group that has to be delivered the vaccine.
  • The implementation of such a project in India will not be a simple task. It will involve multidisciplinary effort over a long period of time to deliver the contraceptive and manage the logistics around it
    • India has relatively large Elephant population, where identifying individuals is difficult.
  • Use of hormonal contraceptives in wildlife are easily passed from animal to animal. This can lead to unintended ecological consequences.
    • For instance, fish exposed to treated sewage effluents were found to have concentrations of the synthetic hormone in blood plasma higher than those found in humans taking hormonal contraceptives.
    • However, the antigens used in contraceptive vaccines are protein, not steroids, they are not easily passed from animal to animal without loss of function. Yet, more research needs to be undertaken.
SMS Alerts
Share Page
× Snow