Tags: NIH | deer | sees | bidders | spay | ovariectomies | tranquilize

NIH Seeks Bidders to Spay Its Over-Abundance of Grazing Deer

By    |   Thursday, 25 September 2014 11:01 AM

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a Bambi problem — and is turning to birth control as the only viable solution.

The 500-acre fenced-in campus of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, is overrun with deer who are munching on the scant grass, and restrictions against hunting them and the absence of any natural predators at the NIH leaves no other choice — they have to stop them from breeding, according to the Weekly Standard.

So, in typical government fashion, the NIH is seeking bidders for a contract to shoot female deer with tranquilizer darts, perform ovariectomies — or spaying — on them by a licensed veterinarian; nurse them back to health; re-release them; train other staff to carry out the operations; and "provide expert advice for humanely controlling the deer population," the contract proposal states.

The NIH estimates that the current deer population in the park numbers from 30 to 40, and a recent video shows at least a dozen large white-tailed deer happily grazing at the NIH headquarters as cars whiz past on the busy highway just outside the nine-foot fence.

The NIH Office of Research Services will administer the contract. This is the first time the NIH has tried deer birth control.

"The campus is densely developed with few remaining open spaces suitable as deer habitat. The property is surrounded by high-density residential and commercial development. There has never been hunting permitted within the NIH campus, and there are no nonhuman predators present that are capable of limiting a deer population.

"Given the favorable conditions, the deer population in NIH has increased to a level that is incompatible with some local land uses. To date, no management action to control the deer population has been implemented," the bid solicitation states.

As for human predators, at least those who can read, the application states, "All ovariectomized animals will be fitted with livestock ear tags labeled "Do Not Consume.'"

The application contains no cost estimate for the project. The NIH is moving fast — the contract calls for the neutering to be carried out between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 of this year.

"Female deer will be anesthetized with appropriate anesthetic agents using remote immobilization (i.e., darting) technologies. Deer then will be transported to a central location to perform surgical procedures — ovariectomy. One mature doe in each matrilineal group will be radio-collared to facilitate future capture efforts (e.g., to locate unmarked deer for subsequent capture) and to assess survival rates. Additional does may be captured and treated over the subsequent 3 years to compensate for potential immigration," the bid solicitation states.

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a Bambi problem — and is turning to birth control as the only viable solution.
NIH, deer, sees, bidders, spay, ovariectomies, tranquilize
Thursday, 25 September 2014 11:01 AM
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