Population challenges aren’t limited to America’s free-roaming horses. Other species around the world pose similar issues that could be addressed by WPM’s humane and effective Remote Wildlife Vaccine Delivery System. Already, we’ve been approached to explore how our technology applies to these species:
Deer in Urban Areas. It’s estimated there are up to 500,000 deer in U.S. urban areas, but the number is likely higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 1 million car accidents with deer each year that kill 200 Americans, cause more than 10,000 personal injuries, and result in $1 billion in vehicle damage. There are few management options as hunting and trapping is difficult in densely populated areas. It would be easy to place WPM’s system in urban areas to better control the deer population.
American Bison. At one time, America’s bison population was 60 million strong. By 1900, after a brutal effort to wipe out the animals, only about 700 remained on private lands and fewer than 30 roamed Yellowstone National Park. With protection and careful management, the Yellowstone bison population now stands between 4,600 to 5,000 animals.
Each year, the federal government culls a portion of the population to a number the park can sustain, but also to reduce the number that stray outside the park. Yellowstone bison and elk can carry a disease called brucellosis that can be transmitted to domestic cattle and humans. Vaccines for brucellosis are in development and WPM’s system could play a role in delivering them and possibly contraceptives to wild bison, potentially controlling disease and humanely managing the population.
Feral Swine. The U.S. has an estimated 7 million feral swine that cause an estimated $1.5 billion – some think it’s closer to $2.5 billion – in damage to agriculture, forests and private property every year. Feral swine devastate native species, eating birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bird eggs – literally anything in their path. They also consume forage, acorns, and other vegetation native species also require. Feral swine threaten the health of people, wildlife, pets, and other domestic animals as they carry deadly diseases like E. coli, toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. In some areas, feral swine have been the cause of elevated waterborne bacteria levels in streams and irrigation canals, another risk for human health. They have been documented as having killed livestock and even people.
The population of feral swine is difficult to control. A single female can give birth to two litters of up to ten piglets a year. The USDA spends $30 million on the feral swine issue annually. Australia’s feral swine population even larger; an estimated 24 million roam the Outback, competing with native species as well as with feral horses and camels for food. WPM’s system can be adapted to feral pigs.
Kangaroos. Australia is home to 50 million kangaroos. The population has doubled since 2010. Population growth and loss of habitat have led to kangaroos devastating farmlands in search of forage. Australia’s insurance industry says that kangaroos are involved in more than 80 percent of the 20,000-plus vehicle-animal collisions reported each year. In the past, the Australian government has encouraged hunting and greater consumption of kangaroo meat. The government is looking for humane solutions like that of WPM to control their numbers.
Feral Camels. Camels were originally introduced to Australia in the 1840’s to help explore the Outback. Some escaped and many were released into the wild. Today, there are 1.2 million feral camels and their numbers are having a disastrous effect. The extreme heat and drought of the last few years is stressing the animals, environment and Aborigine communities. In January 2020, the Australian government conducted a cull to reduce the camel population, a decision no one wanted to make. The population is projected to double every five to ten years. WPM’s system is humane and very applicable to camels.
Brumbies. There are some 500,000 feral horses—brumbies—in Australia. The growing population competes with native species for scarce water and forage. Recent heat waves have resulted in mass die-offs. The bush fires of 2019-2020 has created a more serious issue: there is increased competition with native species whose numbers were decimated in the bush fires and the brumbies are damaging fragile ecosystems that are just now starting to recover. WPM covered in this earlier blog.
Pandemics. The coronavirus outbreak in China is suspected in starting in animals before being transmitted to humans. As of early February, an estimated 500 people had died from the highly contagious illness. Large disease outbreaks can jump from wild to domestic animals or from animals to humans. The coronavirus is just one example, swine flu is another. With WPM’s ability to remotely deliver vaccines to wildlife and monitor health through video and RFID microchips, WPM is uniquely positioned to address pandemics.
The Time Is Now for this Innovative Tech-Driven Solution
WPM Remote Wildlife Vaccine Delivery System can be adapted to manage other species. Because all of its functions – RFID microchipping, delivering vaccines and contraceptives, monitoring animal’s temperature and health status via video and RFID microchips – is done remotely with technology, WPM Hubs can be placed in remote areas where wildlife congregate. The system is humane for animals and safe for humans. There are no roundups, traps or holding pens. Robotics enabled by video, solar panels, satellite communications, and smart devices make this possible.
WPM’s system can be scaled to individual herds or bands or to entire population. And, the data the system collects on individual animals is entered into a national database, enabling the animal to be tracked, vaccines and fertility status verified, and its health monitored. This same data can be used to support research and the allocation of resources.
If you’d like more information on Wildlife Protection Management and our high-tech, humane approach to feral animal and wildlife population management, visit our website or start a conversation with us here. We look forward to hearing from you.