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AKA the fire ant tracker makes a paws-itive difference in Queensland state schools

​The students at Churchill State School are all smiles for the fierce pest sniffing AKA, fire ant tracker

AKA the fire ant tracker is proving that fire ant safety is nothing to be sniffed at, inspiring Queensland state school children to take an interest in current environmental issues through an interactive presentation addressing the effects and hazards of fire ants. 

Seen by over 7,000 Queensland school children each year from Prep to Year 8, the program offers a free 45-minute presentation with AKA, a friendly 4-year-old Labrador and his talented handler, Mandy.

"With the help of volunteers from the audience, AKA demonstrated to students how to find and report fire ants – one of the world's most invasive pests," AKA's handler Mandy Hartfiel said.

"AKA is a red imported fire ant odour detection dog who visits schools in South East Queensland to help educate and engage students.

"The focus of the program is for children to learn about the impacts of fire ants, how to identify the ants and their nests, and what to do if they think they've found fire ants, including how to stay safe around them," she said.

Churchill State School deputy principal Amanda Barton said AKA was very popular with the students.

"Our students thoroughly enjoyed this informative and hands-on presentation and are already looking out for fire ants in our school, at home and in the wider community," Ms Barton said.

"This is the first time the program has visited our school and we are looking forward to having the fabulous Amanda and AKA back in future years."

The fire ant eradication program is in the second year of a 10-year plan to eradicate the pest for good. For more information on the program or to register for an AKA session at your school visit Fire ants.

Find out more about Churchill State School.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
01 November 2019