UW scientists to start studying behavior effects of coyote birth control

Oct 16, 2013

Scientists at the University of Wyoming are moving forward with research into coyote contraception. The goal is to control coyotes without killing them.

Researcher Marjie MacGregor says research has shown that coyotes without babies tend to leave livestock alone. So by controlling coyote reproduction, she hopes to be able to keep livestock safe.

MacGregor says the drug they’ve developed to sterilize male coyotes seems to work, at least in the short term. And they have not noticed any side effects.

But she says they need to make sure the drug doesn’t alter coyote behavior.

“Coyotes do mate for life,” MacGregor said. “If we alter testosterone in the male, is that going to dissolve the pair bond?”

She adds that if the male loses interest in the female, or vice versa, the female might seek a new mate, and the drug wouldn’t be very useful.

MacGregor expects to have some preliminary results from the behavior study in about two years.