In 1935, 102 cane toads were brought to Queensland in an attempt to control cane beetles that were decimating sugar cane crops.
Nearly 90 years later, it’s estimated more than two billion cane toads now live across four states.
In a bid to curb the population of the destructive toads, community-based environmental organisation Watergum is planning its inaugural cane toad bust, starting on Monday, January 24.
Watergum’s invasive species manager, Emily Vincent, said it was important that all communities were involved as cane toads presented a threat to the environment and native species.
“Everybody knows that cane toads are highly toxic to native species, so any animal that tries to predate them will be poisoned and will most probably die,” she said.
“The other problem is that cane toads have very big appetites, so they eat all of the food resources, leaving nothing available for our native species.
“This is how they monopolise an area and push the native animals out.”
According to Ms Vincent, each female cane toad can produce up to 70,000 tadpoles each year.
“Unlike frogs these babies develop very quickly,” she said.
“They will only be tadpoles for three weeks, whereas frogs take up to two months, so they can take over an area very quickly.
“Cane toads are now well established in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and right across Queensland.
“They have also been spotted in New South Wales as far south as Yamba and the Clarence River.”
Public can help save native species
As part of the push to limit cane toad populations, Watergum is launching it’s inaugural Cane Toad Bust on January 24.
The aim is to get as many people as possible outside for that week to remove fertile adults from the environment before they have an opportunity to breed.
“We need Australians to step up and work together to impact cane toads on a national scale. The more people who get involved, the greater our impact will be,” the Watergum website says.
“Regular toad busting can have a big impact on your local population.
“If you remove fertile adults before they have a chance to breed, you prevent the next generation, giving native species a chance to reclaim their habitat.”
Participants are encouraged to register on the Watergum website as a way of collecting data on cane toad numbers.
“Our website has an interactive map where you can log your session, so we can see where people are going and how many cane toads they are removing,” Ms Vincent said.
“Our website also has information on being able to tell the difference between a cane toad and a native frog.
“It’s super important that people don’t remove any frogs out of the environment and if they are unsure, then they should leave that animal alone.”
The website also allows participants to join other toad busting groups, register their own group or just take part as an individual.
Volunteers asked to kill toads ‘humanely’
While cane toad killing in Australian backyards has becomes somewhat of a cruel family sport, Ms Vincent asks that people who are participating in the Cane Toad Bust have the facilities to dispose of cane toads humanely.
“It’s important to us that we change the horrible Australian narrative of torturing cane toads,” she said.
“It’s important to be as humane as possible when euthanasing cane toads.
“Remember, it’s not their fault they are on the wrong continent, they were put here by humans, and they are just trying their best to survive, like everything else.”
Watergum says the most humane way of disposing of cane toads is to put them in the fridge for 24 hours and then transfer them to the freezer for another 24 hours.
“Once they are in the fridge they will then go into a state where they can’t feel anything when you put them into the freezer,” Ms Vincent said.
For more information on the “Cane toad bust’ or to register go to
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Source: Thanks msn.com