Kuranda Group to Keep Up the Crazy Momentum

Dianne Mauloni
March 29, 2016

YCA on Myola frog taken by Mikhaila Jacoby

Yellow Crazy Ant on Myola frog.  Photo taken by Mikhaila Jacoby

The Yellow Crazy Ant population will continue to be under threat thanks to Kuranda Envirocare who are leading a program designed to eradicate the species in a Kuranda suburb with the assistance of a Community NRM Grant from Terrain NRM. 

Since 2013 residents of Russett Park in Kuranda have witnessed Yellow Crazy Ants spreading rapidly, killing and displacing native fauna.

Kuranda Envirocare’s Dr Ray Pierce said, “Without containment and eradication, this infestation will invade surrounding natural and residential areas including the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and restoration sites we have worked on. These areas, support up to 160 species of birds and threatened species such as the Kuranda Treefrog (Litoria myola) and receives occasional visits from the Southern Cassowary.

“We are concerned that the Yellow Crazy Ants will also eventually affect the rest of the Wet Tropics if left untreated.”

The Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) are currently managing the infestation and will continue their control program through to the end of 2016 with the help of the local community and the Australian Government’s Green Army.

Ray said, “With Terrain’s Community Grant, we have a good start to taking over the good work of WTMA and extend the control program.”

Terrain’s Community Grants funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme has provided the group with $34,760 to develop and implement the Russett Park Yellow Crazy Ant proposal which will establish a community taskforce (landholders and the wider community). The taskforce will seek to assist WTMA to firstly contain and secondly eradicate yellow crazy ants from the 30 ha infestation.

Ray said, “The Community Task Force has been working at Russett Park in collaboration with The Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) and James Cook University (JCU).  One treatment of ants has been already been undertaken in 2016 and a second treatment is scheduled in April.

“Fortnightly monitoring of the ants using lures indicates that their population is still robust. We are planning trials to examine whether supplementary methods, e.g. boiling steam, boiling water, vegetation management, etc, can assist in the battle against this invasive species.”

The community taskforce has brought together residents of Cadagi Drive, Kuranda Envirocare, the Kuranda community, WTMA and others to support eradication activities in the area.

“Participants in the project are acquiring the skills needed to identify, treat, survey and monitor ant infestations,” said Ray.

Yellow Crazy Ants were first detected in Russett Park in December 2013 and they are a Declared Class 1 Pest under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management Act) 2002.

Kuranda Envirocare and landholders will continue to seek funding to continue efforts until eradication is achieved.

Ray said, “The objective of eradication is ambitious but it is achievable based on research and management of Yellow Crazy Ants in the Northern Territory and overseas. We will welcome expertise from WTMA and advice from CSIRO and Pacific Biosecurity.”

Other stakeholders and supporters include: Kuranda Residents Committee, Biosecurity Queensland, James Cook University, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Djabugai Traditional Owners and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Kuranda Media Association and Terrain NRM.

If you would like more information about Kuranda Envirocare and the Yellow Crazy Ant project, call 07) 4093 8989.

For more on Terrain’s Community Grants, go to www.terrain.org.au.