McDonald, M. M., Agnew, M. K., Asa, C. S. et al. 2021. Melengestrol acetate contraceptive implant use in colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza): Patterns through time and differences in reproductive potential and live births. Zoo Biology 40(2), 124-134.
Melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants are progestin-based reversible contraceptives used to manage fertility in zoo populations. Although it is recommended that MGA implants should be replaced every 2 years, the duration of efficacy has not been systematically evaluated in most species. Anecdotal reports for Old World monkeys indicate that reproduction may be suppressed longer if the implant is not removed. This study uses Guereza colobus monkey (Colobus guereza) as a model Old World monkey species to examine the effects of MGA implants on reproductive potential. In particular, we investigate whether the probability of reproducing (pR) and rates of stillbirth differ among (1) non-implanted females, (2) females who have had MGA implants removed, and (3) females whose implants were left in past expiration. We found no significant difference in pR between non-implanted and implant-removed groups, but when implants were left in past expiration, the pR was significantly lower than in other groups. Both parity and age significantly impacted pR for the non-implanted group (i.e., younger females and those who were parous increased pR), but neither were significant factors for the implant-removed group. Stillbirth rates were significantly higher post-contraception as compared with pre-contraception. These results support similar analyses in other taxa that show a shorter time to reversal after MGA contraception when implants are removed, making this a good contraceptive option for females likely to receive a breeding recommendation, especially when a more predictable time to reversal is important.