Kimberley Toad Busters urge caution to Kununurra residents:
Cane toad fences cause more harm to native wildlife than Cane Toads!
“Kimberley Toad Busters are very concerned about the cane toad barrier fencing miss-information that has been circulated in the Kununurra community. Cane toad barrier fences do not protect the wildlife in your backyard. They act as a wildlife fence and stop wildlife including frogs, blue-tongue lizards, frilled-neck lizards, monitors and snakes from moving around their territory or home range, the area required for them to survive in the wild!” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
Fences to protect wildlife from cane toads are suitable in some circumstances, eg a Wildlife Park. However, a cane toad fence around a backyard or semi-rural block does more harm than good. Our wildlife requires areas larger than a single backyard or rural-block to fulfill their most basic requirements, like find enough food and a mate, added Scott-Virtue.
“I have witnessed some terrible examples of cane toad fences in the Northern Territory. Many native animals have been trapped or killed in these fences. If you do install a fence please monitor the fence for wildlife each evening.” John Cugley, Administration Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
Cane toad barrier fences become native wildlife barrier fences. Toad busting is a more effective way of controlling cane toads in your backyard without causing further harm to our wildlife. Rather than putting up a fence, people should consider spending a couple of hours a week checking their backyard for toads and removing them by hand, added Cugley.
“There are many ways to protect pet dogs without going to the expense of installing a cane toad fence. Vets have advised us that most pets learn very quickly that cane toads are not good things to eat.” John Cugley, Administration Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“So many people have invested too much time trying to protect our wildlife from cane toads, to then see people begin fencing off their backyards when the toads arrive in Kununurra. By fencing your backyard you are turning your back on our wildlife. We must keep toad busting. Without people toad busting it is predicted we will have more than 2,000 cane toads per ha in Kununurra.” Ruth Duncan, Education and Biodiversity Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
It would be a very sad day for the Kimberley to see people in their backyards sitting safely behind a cane toad fence, while our wildlife is being obliterated around them, added Duncan.
To control cane toads we all need to play a part:
1) One or two evenings a week walk around your backyard to look for cane toads and collect by hand; and
2) During the day check any surface water for signs of cane toad eggs, tadpoles or metamorphs. Toads are most active at night and can often be heard calling. During the day toads love warm moist places to hide in including garden debris, under matting, logs, burrows.
3) Keep outside lights to a minimum as these attract toads to the insects.
4) Lift water bowls of the ground. Ponds should have steep sides with no recess. Toads really love flat surfaces and shallow water.
If breeding is eradicated we can keep toads to a minimum in Kununurra. Toad busting has been proven effective in backyards across Northern Australia, even in QLD. If you make an effort you can control cane toads, added Scott-Virtue.
Hand collection once or twice a week has been shown to reduce cane toads in the immediate area and doing this on an ongoing basis will allow other wildlife to flourish or make a come-back.
A resident of Queensland who recently moved to Townsville has removed toads from his backyard by busting once a week and has seen other frogs move in to take their place. This would not be possible if a toad proof fence had been installed.
A resident in Humpty Doo regularly collected cane toads every couple of days when they first arrived and removed any sign of breeding. His place is still toad free despite having a large wetland and he still enjoys seeing wildlife. Effort when toads first arrive will pay off, you can control cane toads in your backyard.
Update Cane Toad Movement
“Kimberley Toad Busters have been constantly monitoring the cane toad front line around Kununurra. Unfortunately cane toads are now at Mulligans Lagoon and close to Cave Springs. Residents along Weaber Plains Rd can now expect to begin finding cane toads in their backyards.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
Cane toad numbers are still very low around Kununurra. These toads are isolated explorer toads moving ahead of the main cane toad front line. However, there are more toads on their way. Last week a colonizing front was caught at Golden Gate creek on the NT/WA border. More than 400 toads have been pulled out of this creek in 5 days. Previous toadbusts had found less than a handful of toads in this area. All these cane toads are heading west said Scott-Virtue.
Photo: A typical ‘Explorer’ Cane Toad, these toads are isolated and travel ahead of the main front line. Explorer toads are greater than 10 cm, with legs longer than their bodies! These toads can travel up to 3 km a night and are leading the main front line towards the Kimberley. They are the fastest toads. To date Kimberley Toad Busters have not found any lungworm parasites in the explorer toads. This is one of many control options that is not being pursued. Photo: KTB.
It is now up to every resident to do their little bit around Kununurra. There has been a tremendous response so far. Please keep looking in your backyards, and begin a weekly cane toad patrol of your street. Most importantly, make sure you have a cane toad and not a native Giant Burrowing Frog, added Scott-Virtue.
Please contact Kimberley Toad Busters to dispose of cane toads. It is important we collect as much information as possible from these toads for research projects. This research will help our community find a biological solution for cane toads, especially the explorer toads that are leading the cane toad frontline to the Kimberley!” Ben Scott-Virtue, Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
KTB MEDIA RELEASE 51 Sunday 25th April 2010
High resolution images of the photographs are available.
For more information contact:
John Cugley, KTB Administration Coordinator. 08 91682576 / 0427 550331
Ben Scott-Virtue, KTB Field Coordinator 08 91682576
Ruth Duncan, KTB Science and Education Coordinator 040076765
Lee Scott-Virtue, KTB Founder and President 08 91687080