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J Reprod Fertil Suppl. 2001;57:275-83.

Control of reproduction and sex related behaviour in exotic wild carnivores with the GnRH analogue deslorelin: preliminary observations.

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  • 1Department of Reproduction, University of Pretoria, P/B X04, Onderstepoort 0110, RSA.


The GnRH analogue deslorelin, in long-acting implants, was used in an attempt to temporarily control reproduction or aggression in wild carnivores in southern Africa and the USA. In the southern African study, 6 mg deslorelin was administered to cheetahs (eight females, four males), one female leopard and wild dogs (six females, one male) housed in groups, and 12 mg deslorelin was administered to two lionesses. None of the animals became pregnant after deslorelin administration apart from one wild dog that was mated at the initial treatment-induced oestrus. Two wild dogs and one lioness came into oestrus 12 and 18 months after deslorelin administration, respectively, thus demonstrating that the anti-fertility effects of deslorelin are reversible. Two lionesses and four cheetahs underwent oestrus without allowing mating 2-14 days after treatment. Simultaneous administration of progestins to three bitches and one lioness did not suppress oestrus. Male cheetahs had no spermatozoa on day 82 after treatment and did not impregnate two untreated females. Of three untreated female wild dogs housed with treated males, only the first female to enter oestrus (21 days after deslorelin administration) became pregnant. One month after treatment, plasma testosterone concentrations of male dogs were at basal values. In the USA study, three male sea otters that had been treated with 6 mg deslorelin ceased antagonistic behaviour and blood testosterone concentrations and size of the testes were still sharply reduced 24 months after treatment. Male red (n = 7) and grey (n = 5) wolves received 6 mg deslorelin in December 1998 but no effects on seasonal spermatogenesis and behaviour were observed. In a black-footed cat, sperm production, libido and aggressiveness decreased in response to treatment with 3 mg deslorelin and penile spines were not observed within 3 months after treatment, but were observed again 4-6 months later. Treatment of female red (n = 5) and grey (n = 5) wolves with deslorelin in December 1999 triggered preseason oestrus and mating, which were followed by one abortion and one successful pregnancy. Contraception was achieved in female Fennec foxes (n = 7) and two lionesses, which was observed in the foxes by an absence of increases in faecal progesterone concentrations. In two male bush dogs, administration of 3 mg deslorelin once or twice was insufficient to suppress reproductive function or behaviour.

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