KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials are adding medication pit stops in the Florida Keys to combat a screwworm infestation that has killed more than 130 Key deer.
The Miami Herald reports that anti-parasitic feeding troughs baited with sweet corn, oats and other grains are being deployed deep inside the National Key Deer Refuge.
U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Joanna Davis says this provides another layer of protection to the endangered herd. The agency has been releasing sterile male screwworm flies to the wild population. The female flies only mate once, so the population should begin to drop within three months.
While most fly maggots target dead animals, screwworm larvae burrow into the living flesh of deer and livestock.
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