32 people attended last weekend Volunteer Toad Busting and Training weekend and 153 toads were busted. 60 were large gravid females capable of carrying up to 30,000 eggs each. This means that collectively they had the capacity to produce up to one million, eight hundred thousand eggs!
Good on you Toad Busters!
Twenty two Aboriginal people attended and the youngest of our crew was only 4 months old. This is a definite indication that you can never be too young to be Toad Buster. We are getting an increasing number of young families joining our Toad Busting activities and we would like to encourage all families in Kununurra to join in our training exercises.
The weekend boat surveys (undertaken by Graeme Sawyer and ‘Hairydog’ and Jane Harmon and crew) along sections of the Victoria River has provided some good news. The toad is not at Timber Creek yet and that the reasonably saline condition of the water at the Timber Creek end will help to slow down further movement along the river by any small forward incursions. At least for this year.
||There is still no real evidence of toad eggs and tadpoles in any of the permanent water holes and billabongs checked. This may have been a result of activity by the CALM’s on-ground team, however if any incursions of eggs and tadpoles had been noticed and removed by CALM, it still indicates the breeding activity is minimal.
The lack of Cane Toad Catches in the CALM traps set along the Victoria Highway also support that the main Cane Toad activity is still near and in the Victoria River section.
Further good news was the statement by Graeme Sawyer that he believed that our Toad Busting team can knock the 'front' in the Coolibah area over the next several weeks (hopefully we have this much time before the wet breaks properly) and that this will minimise the numbers able to breed in this area over the wet. This would then give our Toad Busters a better opportunity towards stopping any further movement in this area next year.
||Also good news. Wendy Carter, one of our trained Toad Busters was able to confirm that there was no cane toad activity along the Duncan Highway and in the area where a previous report of cane toad activity had come from. However it is now urgent that Cane Toad Educational packages are sent to Stations and Aboriginal Communities located along the road.
Unfortunately the intermittent rain has now meant the Cane Toads are beginning to move, with large numbers of males ‘calling’ along the Victoria River in the general area of the Crocodile Farm and a noticeable movement of females away from the river to new areas of water resulting from rainfall.
Coolibah Station and the Crocodile Farm are beginning to suffer substantial biodiversity losses. Species such as freshwater crocodiles, crows, hawks, wedgetails and goanna’s have been found dead in and around the property. Hairydog expressed concern over the discovery of two large dead catfish and felt they were victims of the cane toad venom also.
It is now imperative more than ever, that we have teams of trained Toad Busters working this general area every weekend for the next 6 weeks, particularly before we cannot access Coolibah Station because of rains. If you have a 4W/D and can spare the time please contact us.
||We will be sending small teams of trained Toad Busters to the Coolibah and Fitzroy Station areas every weekend from now on (and if you are not trained please do not let that stop you from putting your name down to go with one of our trained Toad Busters). We are also hoping our trained Toad Busters can assist CALM in the monitoring of traps placed around the cane toad front! At present we are checking any traps the Toad Busters find during their own Toad Busting activities. Reports of any findings or observations are being sent to CALM.
Craig and Gail Muir of Alligator Airways are providing some air time for the team to 'map' permanent waterholes along some of the potential 'danger areas in the Keep River and Legune Station/Victoria River Zones.
Chris Spur and the TAFE team are currently putting a certified trap making and Toad Busting course together.
Ronnie Atkins and Richard Beech, CDEP coordinators, are looking at ways the CDEP program can incorporate Toad Busting Training into existing training programs.
Aboriginal Communities from Halls Creek are looking at ways in which their Communities can become involved in the proactive educational components of Cane Toad Busting.
The Shire of East Kimberley is looking at ways in which it can assist both the volunteer Toad Busting exercises and the educational component of preparing the shire for the? arrival of the cane toad should we (the volunteer Toad Busting Team) fail to stop the cane toad from crossing the WA border into the Kimberley .
Over the next few weeks individual trained Toad Busters will continue to TOAD BUST in areas that are under threat.
Jane and Greg Harmon of Ultimate Adventures Barra Fishing (two of our trained Toad Busters) are organising a Tourism Toad Busting Training exercise at the Victoria River Roadhouse on the 26th November.
The Echo have given the Toad Busters their very own ‘weekly’ Toad Busting News space.
Bev Ozan has volunteered her services to assist with the fundraising.
We are now desperately seeking funds to continue our volunteer Toad Busting program. Unfortunately the committed funds from CALM are still pending and these exercises are quite expensive. Every small donation helps.
If you are able to financially sponsor the Volunteer Toad Buster Exercises please call
Lee or Dean on 91 682576 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
or Sarah on email@example.com
I would like to thank all those organisations and individuals who have and continue to contribute towards enabling our Toad Busting activities to happen. Information on who these people are is on the Community website www.canetoads.com.au
If anyone would like to go on our Volunteer list or our email weekly Newsletter address please email Lee on firstname.lastname@example.org