GonaCon vaccine could offer lasting results for managing wild horse population

November 29, 2018, Colorado State University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Colorado State University recently released a study touting the use of the GonaCon-Equine immunocontraceptive vaccine as a longer-lasting solution to decreasing fertility in wild horses.

The CSU research team first vaccinated mares at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota in 2009 and saw a modest decline in foaling. Researchers decided to re-administer the vaccine to the same mares in 2013.

"No one had tried revaccinating with GonaCon-Equine and it's proving to be much more successful than we expected. ... It has been about 90 percent effective for going on four years now," said Dan L. Baker, Ph.D., co-principal investigator on the project and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

The vaccine produces antibodies against gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which prevents the mares from ovulating and from displaying sexual behavior, said Terry M. Nett, Ph.D., co-principal investigator on the project and a professor in the CVMBS' Department of Biomedical Sciences.

This new vaccine could aid in better controlling the population of wild horses. The number of wild horses and burros that can live in balance with the ecology of public lands is 27,000 but there are currently 82,000 and burros living on public lands, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Explore further: Novel study shows promise for managing wild horse populations

Related Stories

Endangered wild horses head to Mongolia

July 16, 2012

Four rare Przewalski's wild horses were headed for the Mongolian steppe from Prague on Monday as part of a project to reintroduce the critically endangered species to its ancient homeland.

Recommended for you

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

January 19, 2019

Over the years, scientists have identified dams, pollution and vessel noise as causes of the troubling decline of the Pacific Northwest's resident killer whales. Now, they may have found a new and more surprising culprit: ...

Researchers come face to face with huge great white shark

January 18, 2019

Two shark researchers who came face to face with what could be one of the largest great whites ever recorded are using their encounter as an opportunity to push for legislation that would protect sharks in Hawaii.

Why do Hydra end up with just a single head?

January 18, 2019

Often considered immortal, the freshwater Hydra can regenerate any part of its body, a trait discovered by the Geneva naturalist Abraham Trembley nearly 300 years ago. Any fragment of its body containing a few thousands cells ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.