26 September 2023

Sniffer dogs get crazy ants out of their trees

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The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has entered a commitment with Queensland’s Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) to expand the use of detection dogs to protect the State’s heritage-listed wet tropics area from Yellow Crazy Ants.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said Yellow Crazy Ants could devastate tropical ecosystems and wreak havoc on crops such as sugar cane.

“Since April last year, a Labrador named Fury has covered more than 700 kilometres detecting ant infestations and completing surveys across residential properties and surrounding areas,” Ms Ley said.

“After some highly specialised training, Pretzel and Luna are joining the team to give us the best chance of detecting any last remaining pockets of these invasive ants,” she said.

Ms Ley said the Commonwealth had allocated $3 million to Yellow Crazy Ant eradication this financial year.

Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Meaghan Scanlon said the joint three-year funding (2019-2022) had helped the WTMA make significant inroads in addressing the infestations.

“The role of Pretzel, Luna and the entire management authority will go a long way to protecting our world heritage wet tropics,” Ms Scanlon said.

“Close collaboration between partners, governments and locals has played a large part in really reducing the density of the species throughout the area,” she said.

Ms Scanlon said the Wet Tropics of Queensland was first inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988, provided the only habitat for numerous rare species of plants and animals and was the only place in Australia where Aboriginal people had permanently inhabited a tropical rainforest environment.

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