Wild Horse and Burro populations on BLM lands exceed allowable management levels (AMLs) in the majority of herd management areas (HMAs) where wild horses and burros are found.

In many cases, is not feasible to remove all of the 'excess' wild burros because of the costs

of such removals and the attendant costs of adoption and long-term holding.

As a result, one management strategy that BLM has prioritized is to reduce burro population growth on the range.

Immunizing horses and burros with porcine zona pellucida (PZP) based vaccine is one strategy that can lead to an immunological reaction such that treated animals have lower fertility.

A current formulation of PZP vaccine is in an oil-based emulsion, making use of Freundâ¿¿s modified adjuvant.

The BLM seeks to fund a partner to conduct research into the development of a next-generation PZP-vaccine, and specifically to initiate a research study into the efficacy of new adjuvant formulations using Toll-like receptor agonists and nanoparticles.

Such an adjuvant would be water-soluble.

With the BLM's collaborative financial support, the partner will determine the optimal formulation of a new adjuvant, and will determine the effect of the novel adjuvant in eliciting an antibody response to PZP, in domestic horses.

Partners are not required, but are encouraged, to bring a substantial (1:2, BLM:Partner) cost-sharing commitment to the project.

Offered cost-sharing commitments will be evaluated (see Section E.

2. ).

The BLM has been in discussions with Purdue University and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) about financially assisting with such a project.

All applicant proposals from any qualifying institution will be considered, however the BLM is restricted to supporting research through Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) partner organizations only.

The BLM seeks to foster a research project led by a university partner to develop a next-generation contraceptive vaccine for horses and burros.

As part of a larger interest in fostering the development and testing of a new porcine zona pellucida (PZP) based vaccine, BLM is interested in funding tests into the efficacy of a new type of vaccine adjuvant that could be used in an improved PZP vaccine for horses and burros.

The new adjuvant should include the use of Toll-like receptor agonists and nanoparticles, and be water soluble.

Specific objectives of the desired project are to stimulate equine peripheral blood mononuclear cells with TLR-agonists and nanoparticles to test for a response; and to determine the antibody response of mares injected with PZP and the TLR-agonist plus nanoparticle adjuvant.

At a large number of herd management areas where wild horses and burros live, there are excess numbers of wild horses and burros, relative to the appropriate management levels determined to be optimal with respect to the Bureau of Land Management's multiple-use mission.

Many aspects of public use of BLM lands are affected by these high numbers of excess animals, including threatened and endangered species habitat, highway safety, rangeland health, and livestock grazing interests.

As a result, methods that could reduce population growth rates in wild horses or burros is expected to lead to substantial public benefit.

Current immunocontraceptive vaccines that use porcine zona pellucida (PZP) are inadequate for long-term treatment, because they are effective for only one year.

The BLM seeks to foster the development of a longer-acting PZP based immunocontraceptive.

Development of such an improved PZP vaccine would be of benefit to the management of wild horses and burros, to the many members of the public who take a keen interest in their management, and to members of the public who enjoy public lands where wild horses and burros live.

A long-lasting immunocontraceptive that works in wild horses and burros could be used for domestic horses and burros as well.
Related Programs

Wild Horse and Burro Resource Management

Department of the Interior

Agency: Bureau of Land Management


Estimated Funding: $80,000

Who's Eligible

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

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Additional Information of Eligibility:
This financial assistance opportunity is open to all partners under any Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) program.

CESUs are partnerships that provide research, technical assistance, and education.

CESU partner indirect costs are limited to a rate of no more than 17.5% of the indirect cost base as agreed to in the partner's Federal Agency-approved Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA).

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Ganesh Natarajan is the Founder and Chairman of 5FWorld, a new platform for funding and developing start-ups, social enterprises and the skills eco-system in India. In the past two decades, he has built two of India’s high-growth software services companies – Aptech and Zensar – almost from scratch to global success.

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