AAP story on Ibis contraceptive

Subject: AAP story on Ibis contraceptive
From: "Nicholas Talbot" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 14:40:53 +1000
Fed: New contraceptive is one for the birds
Monday, 26 Sep 2005 at 2:01pm; Category: Australian General News; Low priority; Story No. 5067.
Fed: New contraceptive is one for the birds
Ibis (Pix available)
  By Jade Bilowol
  BRISBANE, Sept 26 AAP - Scientists are working on a
contraceptive pill they hope will control plague populations of
pesky Ibis birds across Australia.
  Researchers from the University of Queensland and Gold
Coast-based Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary today said they aimed to
produce a hormone implant within the next two years that could be
placed under the native scavenger's skin.
  Reproductive zoologist Steve Johnston said the reproductive
patterns of male and female ibises were being studied to create an
implant that temporarily stops ovaries and testicles producing
reproductive cells.
  Dr Johnston said because ibises were a protected species, the
project had to ensure no damage was done to the birds.
  "We are confident this will work and it can be applied (by
councils) anywhere," he said.
  "You put a small implant under the skin that works for about 12
months - this is a negative because it has to be re-applied but
positive because it is a protected species ... you can't just bump
them off."
  Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary senior veterinarian Michael Pyne
said female ibises traditionally bred one clutch of up to three
birds a season.
  Yet, because "they eat anything" and food was readily available
from tips and picnic areas, the female bird was now breeding up to
three clutches a season, he said.
  Dr Pyne estimated there were tens of thousands of ibises - large
white birds with long dark beaks - in south-east Queensland alone.
  "There is just so much food for them and this is helping them
breed - we have helped them with this through tips and leaving our
chippies in the park," he said.
  "They breed at the end of spring and in summer so they are
nesting now."
  Dr Pyne said the study was promising because it could pave the
way for hormones to be eventually used to manage troublesome
behaviour in a range of birds.
  "We could look at managing magpies swooping or scrub turkeys
nesting in backyards where they are not wanted," Dr Pyne said.
  Unlike cats and dogs, which can be castrated, the anatomy of a
bird could only be "turned off chemically", Dr Johnston said.
  AAP jvb/sc/rj/sd

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