Cane Toads


A heartfelt cry from the Kununurra Community to the Nation now fighting to stop the cane toad from crossing into WA since Sept. 2004.

We will Stop the Cane Toads getting into WA!

MPs toadbusting.
Parasites catching up to the front line toads.
Toads 3.4 Klm from W.A. / N.T. border.
What's in ypur backyard launch.
Native frog / cane toad.


KTB Patron Queen MaryG
Photo courtesy ORIC



“This request from Professor Grant Morahan at the University of Western Australia for 200 livers and 10 hearts from front line cane toads became just another toadbust for the Kimberley Toad Busters,” Sandy Boulter.

Photo: Toadbusters on route to the cane toad frontlines rescue a Frilled Necked lizard. These lizards are very hard to find once the cane toads have moved through their homes. Ben Scott-Virtue, who used to find lots of these lizards on his Kakadu tours - before toads - now is pleased to help this one from the road to safety and hope that it does not eat a toad once they arrive.

“KTBS are uniquely placed to assist any researchers with any request and this one that took place on the recent Australia Day weekend meant the KTB toadbusters celebrated their Australian Day weekend in a different way from most Australians,” Lee Scott-Virtue.

“Having never been on a toad busting trip or even seen a cane toad before I was initially a little nervous. However, the KTB volunteers soon put my mind at rest”, Jemma Berry.

Photo: Toadbuster team leader and snake expert, Ben Scott-Virtue, moving python away from some nervous toadbusters, and hopefully well away from the toads.

The volunteers including Kununurra hospital doctors and nurses collected the 200 toads, from which Jemma collected all 200 livers and 10 hearts, to take back to Perth.

“A big thank you has to go to Lee Scott Virtue and Sandy Boulter, who organised the trip for me and who put together such a great toad busting team. Also to Ben Scott Virtue for driving me around and teaching me how to catch toads, and to Del Collins for telling me all about toads and showing me things I never thought I’d see”, Jemma.

Jemma is also very grateful to volunteers Andrew, Jane, Mary and Brenda who helped her dissect out all the necessary bits.

Photo: Toadbusters helping Jemma extract her toad livers and hearts at Newry Station toadbusting base.

“I had a fantastic, if hot and dirty, time busting toads and hopefully the samples I collected will help in finding a way to stop the progression of cane toads across Australia” Jemma.









From Jemma:
“From our preliminary sequencing of the toad genome we have identified some areas of DNA which are likely to be very useful as genetic markers. Analysing these regions in the DNA extracted from each of the 200 toad livers will assist us in establishing a genetic map of the Cane Toad. This genetic map will help us to get in order the entire 4 billion bases of toad genome. The genome assembly will then allow biologists to identify toad-specific targets for biological control measures. These genetic markers will also be used very soon by conservation biologists who can assess how quickly these regions are changing as the toads invade further across the country.

The Western Australian Monoclonal Antibody Facility at WAIMR has raised some monoclonal antibodies to Cane toad proteins, which are involved in stopping the cane toad’s toxin penetrating their own cells. The hearts I collected will be used to test whether the antibodies raised by the MAb Facility bind the correct proteins and, therefore, potentially be used as a biological control to allow toxin into the cane toad’s own cells.”

For more information contact:
Lee Scott Virtue: KTB Founder & President based in Kununurra & Nicholson Station 9168 7080
Sandy Boulter: KTB CEO: 0427 508 582
MaryAnne Winton: Aboriginal Field Coordinator 0488 693 642
Dr Jemma Berry: 08 9224 0340