Sharper eyes see shyer lizards

collaboration with indigenous peoples can alter the outcomes of conservation research

Georgia Ward-Fear*, Balanggarra Rangers, David Pearson, Melissa Bruton, Rick Shine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

4 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Our ecological studies on large varanid lizards in a remote region of tropical Australia reveal a direct benefit to collaboration with local indigenous people. Although they worked together, in pairs, western scientists and indigenous rangers found lizards with different behavioral phenotypes (“personalities”). The resultant broader sampling of the lizard population enabled us to detect positive effects of a conservation management intervention. Those effects would not have been evident from the subset of animals collected by western scientists, and hence, involvement by researchers from both cultures critically affected our conclusions and paved the way for large-scale deployment of a novel conservation initiative in Northern Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12643
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number4
Early online date12 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • animal behavior
  • ethnozoology
  • indigenous engagement
  • invasive species
  • taste aversion

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