The 2010 Origin Gold Banksia Award
Yellow Crazy Ant Management Project
Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, NT
In partnership with CSIRO, Rio-Tinto Alcan
The Yellow Crazy ant, one of the world’s worst ant pests, is present within Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, CSIRO ecologist, Dr Ben Hoffmann, said Yellow Crazy ants formed multiqueened ‘supercolonies’ in which ants occur at extremely high densities over large areas. “This makes them a serious pest of agriculture as well as the natural environment”. For the past five years, Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, in collaboration with CSIRO and Rio-Tinto Alcan, has been waging a war against this ant, with outstanding success. Yellow crazy ant has now been declared eradicated from 21 sites covering 246 ha. This is twice as many eradications covering five times more area than all ant eradications published globally for the past 100 years. In addition, ecological monitoring at 17 sites has quantified full ecological recovery within 12 months following treatments. “These ants have the capacity to spread from Broome in Western Australia across to Queensland” said Dhimurru senior ranger Daryl Lacey. “We have an opportunity now to do something about them while their distribution is limited”, he said.
Comments from Judges
“Judges agreed that this program demonstrated a clear focus with unambiguous results; excellent partnerships providing a commitment to on-going funding, strong contribution to research and on-ground assessment and action. Providing a template for how a committed community can overcome local difficulties in a global context.”