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Dogs recruited in fight against fire ants threatening Sydney


SYDNEY – Special sniffer dogs have been brought to Sydney to detect infestations of South American fire ants discovered near the port, an official report said on Monday.
New South Wales Industry Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson said that the ants could inflict painful bites on people, pets and livestock, also a serious threat to the community and economy.
According to a report, the ants can quickly take over open grassy areas and make it impossible to walk with open shoes.
The ants are believed to have arrived on a ship from Argentina, and could be a disaster for the environment costing billions of dollars to eradicate if they spread.
Andrew Cox, Chief Executive of the Invasive Species Council, said one colony of the fire ants had been detected near Sydney’s port area and destroyed.
“The search would cover several kilometres around the Sydney port.
“You only get one go at this,’’ Cox told the reporters.
Australia’s first outbreak of fire ants in Brisbane in 2001 cost 232 million dollars to eradicate.
A national outbreak could end up costing 43 billion Australian dollars, the primary industries department warned.
Report says the ants, native to Brazil, are 6 millimetres long and reddish-brown in colour, their bite causes a severe burning sensation and deaths have been reported.
An emergency response team of 25 bio-security and pest experts have been brought in to eradicate the highly aggressive ants, including three specially trained dogs that can sniff out fire ant colonies.

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