A taskforce of around 50 personnel has re-surveyed the western boundary of a yellow crazy ant infestation of around 100 hectares. They trekked the foothills of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area for a week recording evidence of yellow crazy ants using baits along 100m transects. Members of the taskforce came from:
Wet Tropics Management Authority
Cairns Regional Council
Douglas Shire Council
Tablelands Regional Council
Cook Shire Council
Hinchinbrook Shire Council
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
Conservation Volunteers Australia
Australian Government’s Green Army Programme
Gimuy Walubara Yidinji
Djunbunji Land and Sea Rangers
State Emergency Service
In order to determine the area to be treated by aerial baiting, the taskforce established the western boundary of the infestation in 2014 and re-surveyed it in 2015. The area has been treated five times since 2014 by helicopter. Early results this year show no expansion of the western boundary and a significant reduction in observed ant densities in several areas. Taskforce members noted the return of other ant species, lizards and ground nesting birds in areas where they were previously absent due to yellow crazy ant infestation.
The critical survey work completed by the taskforce allows the Authority to manage upcoming aerial treatments, keep track of boundary extent and determine best practice management.
The fight against yellow crazy ants will continue in 2016 with aerial baiting due to commence in April (weather permitting). In September 2015 the Authority submitted a proposal for funding for $5.06 million/year for a joint agreement between State and Federal governments to expand and continue the program. As yet there has been no confirmation of funding to continue the eradication program beyond 2016.
Based on the results seen through this recent survey work, eradication of yellow crazy ants in the Wet Tropics remains a realistic goal if the eradication program is funded beyond 2016.
If you would like to help to us toward our goal of eradication, contact Lucy Karger at the Wet Tropics Management Authority on 4241 0517.