Population control

This article is about population control in non-humans. For the practice among humans, see Human population planning.

Population control is the practice of artificially altering the size of any population. It typically refers to the act of limiting the size of an animal population so that it remains manageable, as opposed to the act of protecting a species from excessive rates of extinction, which is referred to as conservation biology.

Factors influencing population control

Population control can be influenced by a variety of factors. Humans can greatly influence the size of animal populations they directly interact with. It is for example relatively common (and sometimes even a legal requirement) to spay or neuter dogs. Spaying - removing the ovaries and uterus of a female animal - medical term = ovariohysterectomy. Neutering - removing the testes of a male animal - medical term = orchiectomy. Various humans activities (e.g. hunting, farming, fishing, industrialization, and urbanization) all impact various animal populations.

Population control may involve culling, translocation, or manipulation of the reproductive capability. The growth of a population may be limited by environmental factors such as food supply or predation. The main biotic factors that affect population growth include:

Important Abiotic factors affecting population growth include:

Methods for active population control

Animal euthanasia is often used as a final resort to controlling animal populations. In Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, the parish performed mass euthanasia on the entire animal shelter population, including 54 cats and 118 dogs that were put to death due to a widespread disease outbreak that spread among the animals.[1]

Neutering is another option available to control animal populations. The annual Spay Day USA event was established by the Doris Day Animal League to promote the neutering of pets, especially those in animal shelters, so that the population remains controllable.[2]


Several efforts have been made to control the population of ticks, which act as vectors of a number of diseases and therefore pose a risk to humans.

See also


  1. Lemoine, Debra (2009-08-03). "Animal Control facility cleans up". The Advocate.
  2. Lenker, George (2002-02-17). "Goal of Spay Day USA to control animal population". Union-News.
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