BIG PINE KEY, Fla. (AP) - Wildlife officials have fitted 30 female Key deer with radio tracking collars amid a screwworm infestation threatening the endangered herd.
According to a statement Thursday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the flexible vinyl collars were made specifically for the deer that only grow to the size of large dogs.
Officials say the collars will help them monitor does and fawns that may be more vulnerable to screwworms during the fawning season.
Screwworm flies lay their eggs in animals' open wounds, and the maggots feed on living flesh. The infestation has killed over 135 Key deer since the late summer in the National Key Deer Refuge.
The state has been trying to keep screwworms in the Florida Keys from spreading to the mainland.
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