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Deer contraception plans under way in Hastings-on-Hudson
Now here’s something people don’t talk about every day: birth control for deer. But in Hastings-on-Hudson, it’s the hot topic on the agenda for Tuesday night’s regular board of trustees meeting.
Tufts University veterinary expert Allen Rutberg will be making a presentation that details his upcoming plan to dart deer with a contraceptive that can keep the animals from getting pregnant for up to three years. Read my prior story here.
It’s a novel approach for dealing with a deer population that’s booming in Westchester County and other parts of the Hudson Valley – and one that will need the help of many diligent volunteers for the program to work.
“This is a literally precedent-setting experiment that puts us at the forefront of the nation on the issue and provides you a real chance to be involved in something new and exciting,” said Mayor Peter Swiderski in an email sent to village residents inviting them to the meeting. “Please consider attending.”
The contraception program could begin as soon as next year, “if not sooner,” the mayor said in the email. The village is waiting to receive approval from state and federal environmental officials that would allow the program to begin.
The five-year experiment involves darting female deer with PZP,l or porcine zona pellucida, a vaccine that goes by the trade name ZonaStat-H. Made from a protein extract found in pig ovaries, it is considered 95 percent effective in preventing pregnancies, according to earlier comments by Rutberg.
From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building, village officials are inviting residents and potential volunteers to come and learn more about how the program will work. At 7 p.m., Rutberg is scheduled to make a half-hour presentation.
For those who can’t make it, a video of the meeting will be posted afterward on the village website via whoh-tv.org and on its cable television station.