Source: Popular Science

Sheep farmers in Australia could save millions annually thanks to the heath goanna, a giant lizard that scavenges maggot-ridden carcasses, reducing blowfly populations that harm sheep. Blowflies lay eggs on sheep, resulting in flesh-eating maggots that cause fly strike, a costly and deadly disease. A study published in Ecology and Evolution highlights the goanna’s superior blowfly control compared to introduced species like foxes and cats.

Research in the Marna Banggara Rewilding Project found that native scavengers, particularly heath goannas, effectively reduce maggot infestations. The study emphasizes the importance of boosting native species populations to improve ecosystem health, support agriculture, and promote wildlife tourism. The heath goanna, an endangered species native to southern Australia, plays a crucial ecological role by consuming carcasses and insects, helping mitigate the spread of blowflies and protecting sheep flocks.

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