Computer simulation of vasectomy for wolf control

Journal of Wildlife Management
By:  and 



Recovering gray wolf (Canis lupus) populations in the Lake Superior region of the United States are prompting state management agencies to consider strategies to control population growth. In addition to wolf removal, vasectomy has been proposed. To predict the population effects of different sterilization and removal strategies, we developed a simulation model of wolf dynamics using simple rules for demography and dispersal. Simulations suggested that the effects of vasectomy and removal in a disjunct population depend largely on the degree of annual immigration. With low immigration, periodic sterilization reduced pup production and resulted in lower rates of territory recolonization. Consequently, average pack size, number of packs, and population size were significantly less than those for an untreated population. Periodically removing a proportion of the population produced roughly the same trends as did sterilization; however, more than twice as many wolves had to be removed than sterilized. With high immigration, periodic sterilization reduced pup production but not territory recolonization and produced only moderate reductions in population size relative to an untreated population. Similar reductions in population size were obtained by periodically removing large numbers of wolves. Our analysis does not address the possible effects of vasectomy on larger wolf populations, but it suggests that the subject should be considered through modeling or field testing.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Computer simulation of vasectomy for wolf control
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 61
Issue 4
Year Published 1997
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 1023-1031
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 1023
Last page 1031