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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Australia eyes pill for kangaroos
A kangaroo in a Sydney zoo
Australia has tried various ways of reducing kangaroo numbers
Scientists in the Australian capital are looking at a new way of controlling the kangaroo population - the contraceptive pill.

Experts in Canberra said an oral contraceptive delivered via food pellets could be an efficient way of reducing numbers.

The local government plans to start trials by adding the contraceptives to grass where kangaroos graze.

Australia has more kangaroos than people and the number is increasing.

The plains and forests around the Canberra region have an especially high kangaroo population.

The animals constitute a hazard to motorists and in 2004, 600 car accidents in Canberra were caused by kangaroos, the Canberra Times said.

In the past, there have been protests against shooting the animals and so local authorities have tried contraceptive implants for females and vasectomies for males, with little success.

"Realistically, to deal with wild animals, it has to be oral," said government ecologist Don Fletcher.

But finding a food pellet that the kangaroos would want to eat would be the challenge, he said.

A spokeswoman from local activist group Animal Liberation, Simone Gray, told Reuters news agency the initiative was a lot better than shooting kangaroos.

"In our nation's capital, it certainly isn't appropriate to kill our national symbol," she said.

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