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.


MPs toadbusting.
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



Media Release
13 June 2009

“Lungworm Parasite Research at the westerly invading cane toad frontline has only been undertaken by the Kimberley Toad Busters. This unique research has been sponsored by the KTBs and East Kimberley Tours. This exciting research is revealing that the lungworm parasite is a cane toad control tool worthy of vigorous research and funding”, Lee Scott-Virtue.

Photo: Jordy Groffen with autopsied cane toad and the lung displayed inside out on Jordy’s index finger.
KTB parasite researcher, Jordy Groffen has returned to Holland after his second round of field research with the KTBs in 2009. Jordy’s research has shown:
  • The parasite frontline in relationship to the westerly moving cane toad frontline
  • The parasite frontline is catching up with the front line cane toads
  • That cane toads can be deliberately infected with the lungworm parasite by close proximity with infected toads
  • That slowing the invading toads has helped the lungworm parasite to catch the westerly invading toads
  • That there is a pentasome parasite in cane toads not previously shown in Australia (what this means to the cane toad campaign is as yet not clear).
Photo:the toad lung in situ. .
A close-up of the displayed lung (the small brown or black threads embedded in the lung tissue are the adult lungworm)

Lungworm parasite infestation

  Lungworm parasite infestation
1. Debilitates adult cane toads
2. Slows the growth and can kill up to 30% of juveniles
3. Means that many of the toads pushing to cross into WA will now be infected with the lungworm parasite
4. Means that the lungworm has an opportunity to multiply and intensify its infestation of each toad before they are established in WA.

Facts about Lungworm Parasite

  • The lungworm parasite lives part of its life cycle in the lung of the cane toad, another part in the gut of the cane toad and then it excreted in the scats of the cane toad but can survive only on damp muddy ground.
• The longer a toad is infected with the lungworm, the higher the number of parasites found in the lung of the cane toad.
• The higher the density of infection of a toad, the greater the debilitating effect on the hosting toad.
• Genetic testing currently being undertaken suggests that the lungworm that is infecting the cane toad is Rhabdias ...Pseudosphaerocephala and so is not the same lungworm that naturally infects our native frogs
• The parasite that infects the cane toad has, to date, not been found in native frogs
• The parasite debilitates adult cane toads
• The parasite kills small cane toads.

This New KTB map, released today shows how intensive weekly (now often nightly as the toads get closer) toadbusting at the westerly frontline cane toad invasion:

1. Is slowing the rate of the cane toad advance across the Northern Territory towards WA (without the KTB volunteers determined toadbusting, toads would have gained a strong hold on WA during the 2008/9 Kimberley wet season); and

2. Means that the adult cane toads are no longer outrunning the lungworm parasite, which is fast catching the forward most toads.

Further Research and Sponsorship Needed
What is needed now by the KTBs is support for Jordy to return to Australia to work with Australian researchers and the KTBs to investigate the efficacy and safety of introducing some heavily lungworm infected male adult cane toads into the frontline populations across the westerly moving invading front lines, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

“In most locations at the westerly invasion front lines, toads with parasites are already there but the intensity of the infection of each toad is low. If severely infected toads were inserted at the westerly moving frontlines (to accelerate the process of increasing parasite density and intensity infection of the invading toad population) then it would reduce the time taken for the parasite to have an impact and shorten the time in which the parasite will have an debilitating impact on the toads moving into WA”, Jordy Groffen.

For more information about the lungworm parasite research, see the KTB Newsletter Number 28 published 13 June 2009
For High Resolution of any photos, please contact Sandy Boulter

As almost 3,000 registered Kimberley Toad Buster award acknowledged volunteer toad predators enjoy their FOURTH YEAR of WEEKLY hunting and gathering cane toads over 200,000 sq kms as a way of life, they are working hard slow and thin the invasion numbers, to save native species from extinction by the cane toad invasion and to preserve the maximum amount of genetic diversity within each native species population that survives. Cane toads in all this stages of their life cycle poison just about all fauna that eat them, pollute waters of ecosystems and use up food resources. The KTBs have caught, weighed, measured, killed and recorded over 372,678 adult cane toads; and countless millions of tadpoles and metamorphs (thereby taking over 170,000 kgs of cane toad biomass out of our already threatened precious NT desert eco-systems) with the help of private donations, Lotterywest, and the federal and WA State governments. As at February 2009, the KTB toadbusting comprised an estimated 592,805 volunteer field hours (and including support and administration hours it is probably closer to 1,000,000, 000 volunteer hours. At $20 an hour, this would equate to a lot of volunteer work value.

For more information contact:
Lee Scott Virtue: KTB Founder & President based in Kununurra & Nicholson Station 9168 7080
Sandy Boulter: KTB CEO: 0427 508 582