Today marks the start of a week-long environmental taskforce entering the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to hunt for the invasive yellow crazy ant.
The Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC) and the Wet Tropics Management Authority have come together for their 6th year to coordinate the event.
The Natural Assets Management Advisory Committee (NAMAC) taskforce for 2019 consists of 72 personnel from several regional councils, Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Traditional Owners, Biosecurity Queensland, and staff from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) from Cooktown to Airlie Beach.
Members of the taskforce will be looking for yellow crazy ants in the rugged hills of Mount Peter, sharing resources and expertise, while broadening their understanding of the threat and contributing to its eradication.
The FNQROC coordinator for the Natural Asset Management, Travis Sydes, stated that ‘On top of great outcomes each year, being part of the taskforce is a really important skill-building exercise for regional staff. It results in more eyes on the ground looking for this invasive species, right across the Far North, which is an essential part of the regional effort.’
‘FNQROC and member councils are deeply concerned by the wide-ranging impacts of yellow crazy ants to the region’s biodiversity, economy and communities if eradication is not realised,’ said Mr Sydes.
Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Program Manager, Lucy Karger, said, ‘It’s great to see the taskforce evolve and grow each year to include a wider range of stakeholders; it really highlights the importance of regional partnerships in the delivery of our programs aim to eradicate yellow crazy ants from the World Heritage Area.’
‘It is a huge undertaking to rid our landscape of these extremely aggressive pests, and we are significantly reducing ant populations. Collaborating to deliver such a large-scale survey allows significant progress to be made in a short space of time,’ said Ms Karger.
‘Yellow crazy ants are still a threat to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and surrounds. We need people to be on the lookout and report new sightings. Working together, we have a much greater chance of success,’ said Ms Karger.
Anyone who suspects they have seen yellow crazy ants is encouraged to contact the Wet Tropics Management Authority at YCA@wtma.qld.gov.au or call 4241 0525.