On a Pacific atoll, dogs are helping track down an invasive ant species

On a Pacific atoll, dogs are helping track down an invasive ant species
Guinness and Solo alongside their trainers on the remote atoll. (Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two dogs are sniffing out invasive species on a remote Pacific island.

Guinness and Solo are the first canine detection team to check for yellow crazy ants at Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

The atoll will eventually be home to a seabird colony. The ants pose a risk to wildlife because they can spray acid that can severely injure them. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working to eradicate the invasive species from the island since 2009.

“The combination of hand searching and use of conservation detection dogs for this project will help determine if the yellow crazy ants are truly eradicated from the Refuge, or if more work needs to be done to exterminate any remaining ants,” said Trip Leader and Biological Science Technician Aisha Rickli-Rahman.

Crews will restore the habitat over the coming months.

“Invasive species have detrimental impacts on our iconic Pacific Islands wildlife and places,” said Kate Toniolo, Superintendent, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. “Hopefully, when the Crazy Ant Strike Team returns in six months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be one step closer to declaring Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge free of invasive yellow crazy ants.”

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