The community launches a crowdfunder
In April, Kuranda Envirocare launched a crowdfunding campaign to kickstart a research project by James Cook University to study the phenology and ecology of the yellow crazy ant. This scientific understanding of the ants was vital for their successful eradication across the Wet Tropics.
The urgency of the crowdfunding campaign was critical due to an imminent baiting of the ants using a more effective ant bait—this would reduce ant numbers, resulting in a lack of ant colonies that could then be gathered for research, which would have delayed the research even further once government funding was available.
Kuranda Envirocare donated $5,000, while The Kuranda Paper donated $5,000 and generously promised another $5,000 if matched dollar-for-dollar by public donations up to $5000. The Kuranda Paper’s front cover and three-page article urgently called for public donations for the crowdfunding campaign. It also encouraged the Queensland and Australian governments to commit to ongoing funding of the Authority’s program to eradicate yellow crazy ants from the Wet Tropics.
The fundraising campaign raised the requested $20,000, and these funds kick-started the laboratory setup and collection of ant nests while ant numbers were still high.
Public media interest ramped up thanks to The Kuranda Paper, engaged stakeholders, local politicians and Kuranda residents. Resident Gayle Hannah’s letter to The Kuranda Paper (April 2016) called on State politicians as ‘Not Crazy Enough’ to the threat of yellow crazy ants in Kuranda and southern Cairns. Neil Boland’s letter to The Kuranda Paper (May 2016) highlighted the success of past eradication programs on invasive species and called on the community to donate to initiate research on yellow crazy ants and attract government funding.