Rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) have become widely established outside their native range through accidental or deliberate release. Potential economic impacts on agriculture, conservation concerns, and mixed public opinion regarding the species have highlighted the need to develop effective but humane management options. Fertility control might provide such a solution if a safe and environmentally benign contraceptive was available. The chemical 20,25-diazacholesterol dihydrochloride (diazacon) has previously been used to reduce reproductive output in avian species through reduction of blood cholesterol and cholesterol-dependent reproductive hormones. We orally dosed captive rose-ringed parakeets with a solution of either 9 mg/kg or 18 mg/kg of diazacon for up to 10 days and found that a dose of 18 mg/kg for 10 days temporarily reduced blood cholesterol levels with no adverse side effects. We evaluated this dose level in a captive population in semi-natural conditions during the 2008 breeding season and found a significant decrease in fertility. We concluded that diazacon has potential for fertility control in this species if a suitable formulation and delivery system is developed for free-living populations.
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Vol. 74 • No. 3