4 April 2007
Heli-busters at Underwater Hotspots
Friends of Kimberley Toad Busters
The Kimberley Toad Busters did their first helicopter busts on Auvergne Station in the Northern Territory in March in an effort to eradicate potential hot spots which are underwater in remote areas.
Six volunteer took the 25 minute chopper ride from Timber Creek airport to one of the station’s northern creek systems Fancy Creek, a 50km journey that would take up to fourteen hours by road.
The helibust was undertaken to determine how many cane toads had traversed a new corridor discovered north of the Pinkerton Ranges and whether or not this area had become a new breeding ground.
A recent study by KTB volunteer, Paul Sharp, revealed cane toad activity in the remote area despite the challenging terrain of neighbouring Bradshaw Army Base and the Pinkertons.
This discovery suggests to the KTBS that the toads managed to overcome the difficult terrain by using the Fitzmaurice River in the north and the Victoria River – both of which could have carried the toads to more hospitable terrain.
To the delight of KTB founder, Lee Scott-Virtue, few toads were found in the creek and an autopsy revealed that none of the female toads captured were pregnant.
“The fact we found little toad activity was hugely encouraging,” Lee says. “It means that the breeding ground is still to the east and when the dry season comes we know we can virtually clean this area out completely.”
The Department of Environment and Conservation also believe the area is vital to monitor and are currently conducting field research just west of where the KTB are working with both groups estimating it will take another several weeks to cover all of the significant creek systems on Auvergne.
Both groups continue to work together to share their findings in an effort to establish that the toads don’t make it to the Bulla River and the Keep River catchment area.
The Kimberley Toad Busters helicopter flight was donated by local business, Kimberley Fine Diamonds and Hotel Kununurra who are also donating one dollar from each bottle of Cane Toad Killer White and Red wine to the voluntary on-ground effort. THE KTBs still have NO State government funding for their extraordinary campaign – which is the best chance Western Australians have at keeping the toads at bay and mitigating their impacts.
Contact Sandy Boulter at Friends of the Kimberley Toad Busters on 0427 508 582 and visit www.canetoads.com.au for in depth information on cane toad development or email Friends at Friendsktb@yahoogroups.com
If everyone was a toad buster, the toads would be busted!