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.
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- animal behavior
- indigenous engagement
- invasive species
- taste aversion