Chicago suburb ends first phase of deer sterilization

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April 24, 2002

Chicago suburb ends first phase of deer sterilization experiment

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) - Officials in this Lake County community say they have ended the first phase of an experiment to control the local deer population through sterilization. Officials said they had fewer problems than expected in capturing 19 does and sterilizing them in a converted ambulance before releasing them. But they said they will have to wait to determine the success of the program. All of the deer they sterilized were pregnant, said Dr. Bob MacLean, a veterinarian affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and hired by Highland Park.

The program ended for the season because pregnancies have advanced too far for any more sterilizations to be conducted effectively, officials said. The 19 sterilized does were tagged and fitted with radio collars to track their movements. Twelve additional does that were not sterilized were also tagged and given collars so they can act as a control group. In January, the city joined with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Milwaukee County Zoo in using a mobile operating room to sterilize whitetail does. The deer are caught in nets baited with apples and raisins.

Does targeted for sterilization are anesthetized, put on a stretcher and carried to the ambulance. A vet performs a tubal ligation, then administers a painkiller and an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection. The process takes about two hours, officials said. ''Everyone worked hard to ensure the deer were handled quickly and with the least amount of stress,'' said Patrick Brennan, a spokesman for the city. Officials say they hope to continue the program next year.
 

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