In Agriculture

Western Australia Minister for Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan

Detection Dogs To Sniff Out Red Imported Fire Ant

Victor P Taffa

  • Two highly trained surveillance dogs deployed from Queensland to sniff out one of the world’s worst invasive ant species
  • Detector dogs support State Government’s surveillance campaign to prevent the pest from becoming established in Western Australia

Specially trained odour detector dogs have been called in to assist State Government authorities to sniff out one of the world’s most invasive pests.

“Willow and Cola have been working with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s biosecurity response, playing a crucial role in surveillance efforts, particularly detecting ants that could be underground and not visible to the naked eye.” Minister for Agriculture and Food Alannah MacTiernan said.

“We thank the Queensland Government for providing Willow, Cola and their handler, and for sharing knowledge and experience in dealing with red imported fire ants.”

Red imported fire ant was recently detected at Fremantle Port, and the State Government is taking every step to stop its possible spread.

Black Labradors Willow and Cola, who have nine years of collective experience in detecting red imported fire ant, have been loaned from the Queensland Government to aid Western Australian authorities’ surveillance efforts.

These dogs have a 95 % success rate in identifying fire ants, often long before they become visible to the human eye.

Their efforts will support the local biosecurity response to prevent this invasive pest from South America from becoming established in Western Australia and threatening the environment, agriculture, the economy and human health.

A Quarantine Area Notice is now in place in parts of Fremantle, restricting a range of host materials from potentially spreading the pest to other locations.


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