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KEY LARGO (CBSMiami/AP) — In an effort to protect the remaining Key deer from an infestation of screwworms, wildlife agents have created special medication pit stops in the Keys.
The stations are in the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key and No Name Key. They include feeding troughs baited with sweet corn, oats and other grains rimmed with rollers that have been coated with an anti-parasitic.
U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Joanna Davis says it should add another layer of protection to the endangered herd.
Last month the agency began releasing sterile male screwworms to help wipe out the wild flies. Davis says the female flies only mate once, so the population should begin to drop nine to 12 weeks after releases.
Screwworm larva burrow into wounds and feed on flesh of deer and livestock. So far, they have killed more than 130 Key deer.
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