Meet the 19-year-old who saved us from an invasive species
THE 19-year-old man who discovered the yellow crazy ant infestation in Lismore was yesterday recognised for his good work which was instrumental to the Department of Industries action to combat the invasive species.
Milo Yeigh first noticed the unusual ant while he was sitting outside Centrelink over a month ago.
"I was just watching all the ants and I hadn't seen them in Lismore before,” Mr Yeigh said.
Being an avid insect and ant enthusiast from a young age, Mr Yeigh took it upon himself to identify what species the ants were and contacted Biosecurity.
"I was a lot when I was younger but then I took about a four-year break from it because it felt childish in way, but in the last year and a half I've got more interested in it again on a more deeper level,” he said.
"I thought they could possibly be agent weaver ants but they didn't have any green that I could see, they had more of a yellowy orange.”
Once identified, Mr Yeigh said he became nervous and immediately notified Biosecurity.
"The contacted me back to send through some samples and that's how they were identified,” he said.
"I looked it up and once I felt I had identified them positively enough, I took a lot of pictures and sent them to Biosecurity.”
NSW DPI Manager Invasive Species Programs Scott Charlton said Mr Yeigh's early report was a crucial part of the ongoing response.
"I'm very pleased to be able to recognise the young man who essentially kicked off this all agency response, simply by being aware to his surroundings and caring enough to report it,” Mr Charlton said.
"We can't overstate how important his actions, and those of the wider community, have been in our eradication efforts to date.”
Mr George congratulated NSW DPI and LLS for leading the surveillance and eradication efforts, and all other agencies for the assistance they provided.
"I want to thank all the departments that have worked together to get this under control because if this had gone on further without being noticed it could of been a natural disaster,” he said.