Birth Control for South African Elephants

Johannesburg, home to thousands of the giant creatures, is organizing a birth control campaign to prevent an overpopulation that could harm wildlife and plants

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    The contraceptive, given by dart, has been tested at 14 elephant reserves, proving 100 percent effectiveness with no negative side effects.

    South Africa’s largest city has begun family planning—for elephants.

    Johannesburg, home to thousands of the giant creatures, is organizing a birth control campaign to prevent overpopulation that could harm wildlife and plants because adult elephants consume 220 to 660 pounds of food a day, Reuters reported.

    South Africa has seen a rise in its elephant population due to its lush habitat, unlike other African countries where numbers are alarmingly low as a result of limited sustenance and thievery.

    A century ago, the country had just over 100 elephants—now it has more than 20,000, according to Reuters.

    The contraceptive, given by dart, has been tested at 14 elephant reserves, proving 100 percent effectiveness with no negative side effects.

    South Africa hopes to avoid the grim condition in neighboring Botswana, where at least 133,000 elephants have eliminated massive forests while satisfying their appetites, Reuters reported.