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Four chemicals shown to be effective as sterilants in other vertebrate species were evaluated for efficacy in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Weight-related doses were administered, by gavage, to groups of does who were then allowed to form breeding colonies with bucks of proven fertility. Two chemicals were found to have a long-term effect from this single oral dose. Acceptability of these two drugs was evaluated in a no choice situation and found to be adequate. One of these drugs was then used in a simulated field trial where prefeeding prior to exposure to the drugged baits occurred but where alternative feed was also available. The results were inconclusive.
Two chemicals were found to have a long-term effect from a single oral dose, but the duration and variation in effectiveness observed for individual animals indicate that neither drug is suitable for full field use in pest control operations.
Techniques to allow the evaluation of new compounds have been evolved and are applicable to use with other vertebrate pest species as well as the rabbit.
vertebrate pest control, chemosterilants, sterilants, estrogens, rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus
Scientist, Invermay Agriculture Research Center, New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mosgiel,