We will Stop the Cane Toads getting into WA!
The Kimberley Toad Busters are the only truly totally volunteer group
on the ground (since the 10th Sept. 2005) trying to stop the cane toad
from getting across the Western Australian border. To date we have
largely met all field expenses from community fund raising efforts, local government input and community donations, the
ongoing support of Biodiversity Protection Inc (and recently a comittment of $79,000 from the Federal Government) .
Despite the State Government committment of half a million dollars towards the cane toad fight, this local volunteer
group has not received one dollar of this money. Eight months later this volunteer group is sustainable only because of
local community financial input and the belief that we have provided, for the first time in 70 years, an ability to 'hold' the
cane toad front line while government and scientists find a 'biological' solution to the relentless march of the cane toad.
A summary of WWF-Australia’s nomination of Predation, Competition and Lethal Toxic Ingestion Caused by Cane Toads as a Key Threatening Process (KTP) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the role and responsibilities of the National Cane Toad Taskforce
Northern Savannas Coordinator, Threatened Species Network (a community-based program of the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust and WWF-Australia)
Email: email@example.com Ph: (08) 8941 7554 Fax: (08) 8941 6494
In early 2004, WWF wrote and submitted a nomination to the Federal Government to have, ‘ Predation, Competition and Lethal Toxic Ingestion Caused by Cane Toads ’ recognised as a Key Threatening Process (KTP) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This is the first step to addressing the impact of a particular threat under Australian law. A brief overview of this submission will be presented.
Also during 2004, a National Cane Toad Taskforce was established. The purpose of this taskforce is to develop and coordinate a national strategy to combat the deleterious impacts of the cane toad on Australia ’s biodiversity. This includes:
The taskforce recommendations will be reported to the Australian Government in April 2005. Jarrad Holmes sits on the National Cane Toad Taskforce as a representative for community conservation groups and will present a brief overview on the members, roles and functions of the taskforce.
The following information was presented at the Cane Toad Forum to raise community awareness of the KTP nomination and to raise the profile of the National Cane Toad Taskforce.
Key Threatening Process Nomination
In early 2004, WWF-Australia submitted a nomination to the Australian Government to have Predation, Competition and Lethal Toxic Ingestion Caused by Cane Toads recognised as a Key Threatening Process (KTP) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This is the first step to addressing the impact of a particular threat under Australian law. As at March 2005, 14 KTP’s were listed under the EPBC Act, including threats such as Predation by Feral Cats, Predation by the European Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Land Clearance.
If the WWF-Australia KTP nomination is successful and if the Federal Environment and Heritage Minister deems it to be a feasible, effective and efficient way to abate the threatening process, then a threat abatement plan will be written. The Federal Environment Minister must make a decision on whether a threat abatement plan will be written within 90 days of listing a Key Threatening Process. The benefit of a threat abatement plan, and one of the primary reasons for WWF-Australia submitting the nomination, is that it provides the framework for a national, coordinated approach for the planning and implementation of research and management actions to reduce the impact of cane toads on biodiversity, particularly threatened species and threatened ecological communities.
The Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) will asses the KTP nomination and provide advice to the Environment Minister who will then make a decision on whether or not to list cane toads as a KTP. As of March 2005, this decision has been deferred until the 15 th of June 2005 .
The KTP nomination and other relevant information regarding the EPBC Act and threat abatement plans can be viewed on the Australian Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage website: www.deh.gov.au
National Cane Toad Taskforce
Under direction from the National Vertebrate Pest Committee, a National Cane Toad Taskforce was established and met in Darwin in October 2004. The purpose of the taskforce is to develop and coordinate a national strategy to combat the deleterious impacts of the cane toad on Australia ’s biodiversity. This includes:
The taskforce membership includes scientists from various institutions with experience in cane toad research, government (State, Territory and Federal) and community representatives. At the October 2004 meeting there were numerous presentations on current research and management programs operating in QLD, NSW , WA and NT, and discussion of future priorities. The minutes from this meeting are publicly available and can be obtained by contacting the author.
At the time of the Kununurra Cane Toad Forum, the report from the National Cane Toad Taskforce was being finalised and was due to be sent to the National Vertebrate Pest Committee in April 2005. The report is not currently publicly available but it is anticipated that it will be mid to late 2005.
As the report is not yet publicly available, only a very basic and general overview with a few examples of the taskforce’s recommendations could be discussed at the forum. Research to determine the factors associated with persistence or recovery of northern quoll populations within the range of cane toads in Queensland was considered a research priority. The continuation of ‘island arks’ and bio-security measures to protect species under threat from the cane toad on toad-free off-shore islands, particularly focusing on islands where it is believed cane toads would not reach naturally, was considered to be a short-term management priority. Four long-term control approaches were identified by the taskforce - a Bufo-specific pathogen, potential release of sterile males, a cane toad specific toxin and a disseminating or non-disseminating genetically-modified organism (GMO). Undertaking initial population modelling to understand how these various approaches may work in the field was considered a high priority.
Special note: On the 12 th of April 2005, the Federal Environment Minister announced that the KTP nomination had been accepted, with the revised title being The BiologicalEffects, Including Lethal Toxic Ingestion, Caused by Cane Toads ( Bufo marinus). The decision on whether or not a threat abatement plan will be written and implemented is pending the outcome and advice from the National Cane Toad Taskforce report.