Does community involvement make any difference? Apparently not in Australian Government Threat Abatement Plan for Cane Toads released at the Caring for the Kimberley Environmental Forum
“The Caring for the Kimberley Environmental Forum held in Kununurra last week was extremely well supported by the community with well over 400 people attending during the three day event. The real positive aspect of the forum was the free discussion and relationship building between scientists and community, this will allow real progress in the fight against cane toads as research on cane toad control provides tools that can be used by community members.” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Co-Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“Everyone says scientist, community and government should work closer together if we are to solve problems, this forum was one of the rare occasions where the relationships required to achieve this have had an opportunity to be built. There is real opportunity for the controls being developed by scientists to be used by the community to effectively control cane toads in the future.” John Cugley, Volunteer toad buster, Administration Co-ordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“From this forum there are a number of ways that community and scientists can work directly together to improve cane toad control and research, these include the Lung Worm parasite and monitoring of wildlife including icon species such as the Olive python, Blue Tongue Lizard, Frilled-neck Lizard and Goannas as part of the Kimberley Toad Busters ‘What’s in Your Backyard? wildlife monitoring program.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Field Co-ordinator and toad buster, Kimberley Toad Busters.
||Photo: One of the Kimberley’s favorite species - Up to a 100% loss of the Northern Blue Tongue Lizard can occur in the Kimberley. Team Bufo, University of Sydney, PhD candidate, Sam Price Lees is recording impacts in Keep River National Park and trialing use of the ‘toad sausage’ to find a way to minimize impact of cane toads for this favorite species. Photo: Katrina Nissen.
“In total there were 43 different speakers, from the Australia’s leading scientists in fire management and cane toad control to community members. The forum allowed ideas to be discussed and questions answered.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Volunteer Toad Buster and Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“On display at the Forum was an exceptional array of visual art and wildlife photography as part of competitions designed to celebrate the biodiversity of the Kimberley and raise awareness of the threats. Many thanks to all those who entered the competitions, an excellent contribution to the Forum and reminder of why we need to protect the Kimberley. Paintings are currently still on display at Lovell Gallery. Winners have been announced at the Forum and in the Kimberley Echo newspaper.” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
On the Cane Toad Threat Abatement Plan released by Professor Tony Peacock on behalf of the Australian Government at the Caring for the Kimberley Environmental Forum:
“Finally the Federal Government was able to share with the community and scientists how they plan to combat the threat of cane toads over the next five years. Based on two reports, a literature review of scientific studies and a study of community attitudes towards cane toads, they have essentially said it is more effective to protect islands rather than pursue biological controls and community control. Communities are instead encouraged to focus their efforts on local areas of importance, please give us a location in the Kimberley that is not ecologically important!” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Co-Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“When I have children I look forward to being able to show them a frilled-neck lizard in the wild, there is no hope of this occurring with the current Threat Abatement Plan that has been drafted by the Australian Government, unless I travel to a remote Island. People do not want to live with cane toads.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Field Coordinator and toad buster, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“The Federal government believes despite massive community involvement there has been no change to the rate of spread of cane toads, the impact on biodiversity or toad numbers. At this stage this assessment is a cop out. The only tools used by Kimberley Toad Busters to eradicate immature and adult cane toads have been developed by the Community, the government is yet to provide assistance in this area. Funding for Kimberley Toad Busters to employ staff members to coordinate the massive community involvement cane toad control is only recent, only the last few months has there been anyone employed to monitor biodiversity. Despite this there is qualitative information to suggest community control has made a difference to toad spread rates and reduced impact on biodiversity. All this on a shoe string budget, just imagine what could occur government and community worked together! Ruth Duncan, Volunteer toad buster, Education and Biodiversity Co-ordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
The impact of community involvement needs to be genuinely assessed before it is discounted. The other important point, community involvement is increasing each year, people do not want to live with toads or see toads in the Kimberley.” Ruth Duncan, Volunteer toad buster, Education and Biodiversity Co-ordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
The Threat Abatement Plan for the biological effects including lethal toxic ingestion, caused by cane toads (Draft) is available online, the period for public comment is open now until 16th June 2010.
||1st Prize for the Kimberley Toad Busters ‘What’s in Your Backyard?’ Wildlife Photographic Competition. A beautiful male Diporiphora bennettii, photo taken in Christine’s backyard in Kununurra.
Photo Christine Tooke.
||3rd Prize for the Kimberley Toad Busters ‘Whats in Your Backyard?’ Wildlife Photographic Competition. An eye-catching shot by Nilusha Somaweera.
See KTBs at www.canetoads.com.au
KTB MEDIA RELEASE 49 Sunday 28th March 2010
High resolution images of the photographs are available.
For more information contact:
Lee Scott-Virtue, KTB Founder and President 08 91687080
John Cugley, KTB Administration Coordinator. 08 91682576 / 0427550331
Ben Scott-Virtue, KTB Field Coordinator 08 91682576
Ruth Duncan, KTB Science and Education Coordinator 0400767650