6 Mar 2006

Tokelau makes plans to control two destructive pests - mynah bird and crazy ants

8:43 pm on 6 March 2006

A New Zealand academic says projects to control two different pests on Tokelau will start with developing awareness among the local population.

Wellington's Victoria University biology lecturer, Dr Phil Lester, says a project to eradicate the crazy ant on all three atolls has just been given the go ahead.

A second project to control the mynah bird is awaiting approval.

Dr Lester says the crazy ant and mynah birds are on the world's 100 most invasive species list.

He says both eat just about anything, and the crazy ant sprays a burning acid which can cause human great pain.

He says one of the keys will be to ensure that no more of the species get into the territory.

"The supply ships that go to the atolls is the only way the invasive ants can get on the islands. And so you can only target your control methodology to those specific ports that they come into and the cargo that's on them. Atafu is pretty fortunate that it doesn't have those, and mynah as well which is a new bird threat over there."

Dr Phil Lester.