26 September 2023

Cola’s dog nose clears ant invasion

Start the conversation

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has said that a specialist odour detecting dog led to the final assault against the invasive pest, the browsing ant in WA.

The highly-trained black Labrador, named Cola, played the final role in a targeted eradication campaign that had been under way for four years at Welshpool, Bayswater, Kewdale, Rockingham and Fremantle Port.

During an inspection of the five metropolitan sites for the pest, Cola and her handler made no detections, verifying field surveillance by the Department over the past four years.

In a statement, the Department said the formal process of declaring Area Freedom from the browsing ant will now begin.

“Progress towards eradication is the result of a successful treatment program by the Department, working in collaboration with the community, Local Government and State Agencies,” the Department said.

“Cola is part of the Queensland-based National Fire Ant Eradication Program and has previously visited WA to survey for red imported fire ants, which were detected at Fremantle Port in 2019.”

The Department described red imported fire ants as one of the world’s worst pests, originating from South America, which could impact agriculture, the environment, the economy and social amenity.

“Surveillance for red imported fire ants was completed in April 2022 and a formal submission for Area Freedom is being prepared,” it said.

“Ongoing surveillance with no target species found over a two-year period since the last detection provides evidence that demonstrates the absence of a pest to support an Area Freedom declaration.”

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.