Contraceptive pill curbs pigeon procreation in Austrian city

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 01 2012 02:51 PM | Updated as of Jun 01 2012 10:54 PM

VIENNA, Austria - What works for humans might as well work for birds, so thinks the Austrian city of Linz, which has confronted the problem of too many pigeons by feeding them contraceptive pills.

Since 2001 the so-called "pigeon pills" have been distributed throughout the city centre in a bid to stem the pigeon population.

The German-made pill, which poses no risks to other animals such as dogs, is a useful way to reduce the number of pigeons without harming them, say the city's health authorities, which are behind the project.

And the pill is working: since 2001, the pigeon population has more than halved from 20,000 to just 9,000, the city announced Thursday.

But just to be sure, the authorities have also relaunched a campaign advising people not to feed the birds.

With more time spent looking for food, the pigeons will have fewer opportunities to procreate, experts say.

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