Barcelona is the first major city to back contraceptive methods using nicarbazin, a substance which inhibits the reproductive capacity of pigeons. The method has already been successfully trialled in cities such as Genoa and other small Italian towns, but never in a large city such as Barcelona.
The treated food will be supplied via automatic dispensers supplying corn covered in the contraceptive substance. The method, which replaces the traditional method of capture, works over a medium-term period. The current population is expected to drop by 20% in the first year and by between 70% and 80% after four to five years.
At the end of 2017, a new pigeon census will be carried out in the city to evaluate how effective the contraceptive method is. The scientific management of the programme is being overseen by the Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the scientific census is being directed by the Museum of Natural Sciences.
Further information: Ethical pigeon control in Barcelona