Kimberley Toad Buster's
|The aim of this website is to document the Kimberley Toad Busters fight to stop the cane toad crossing into
Western Australia and to provide the Western Australian Community some understanding of the enormous efforts (and contributions) that
can be made by unpaid volunteers!
The Cane Toad is a Key Threatening Process to the Australian Nation
Winners of 13 State and National Awards
This 59th Kimberley Toad Busters’ Newsletter is produced by Kimberley Specialists In Research Inc in conjunction with Kimberley Toad Busters Inc. Kimberley Specialists, a founding member of the Kimberley Toad Busters, continues to support the campaign against the cane toad by supporting www.canetoads.com.au raising funds and supporting cane toad scientific research.
Prepared by Lee Scott-Virtue, President and Founder of KTB.
KTB is a tax-deductible entity.
IF EVERYONE WAS A TOADBUSTER, THE TOADS WOULD BE BUSTED!
Leading the way to a sustainable use of cane toads!
In 2015 Kimberley Toad Busters were approached by Jessica Hiscox, a Zoology Technician from Massey University, New Zealand to ask whether we would be able to send a couple of hundred cane toads for their students to use for dissection instead of frogs imported from America.
“Basically every year across two of our campuses we do frog dissections. Currently we order in leopard frogs from America but I am trying to find alternatives to this as we have had issues with what they have been preserved in and also the sustainability aspect of getting these animals. We are trying to reduce our ecological impact and using cane toads will mean less transport and will be using a pest instead of a purpose bred animal” stated Jessica Hiscox Technician – Zoology, Massey University.
Lee Scott-Virtue, Founder & President of KTB commented “the project of sending toads as far away as New Zealand was not without its problems. We had to find a way to transport the toads, work within quarantine restrictions, find the best method to preserve a dead toad and then work out how to store 200 plus dead toads”. Lee went on to add “KTB have had years of experience facing various challenge’s and the importance of overcoming some of the problems in getting cane toads to New Zealand meant it was a challenge we wanted to win”.
Dean Goodgame, KTB Board member & Co-Founder went on to say “the importance of Massey University using cane toads for science may be the impetus needed to get Universities across Australia and other countries to use cane toads instead of breeding frogs for laboratory purposes”. Dean added that a demand by Universities for cane toads would be a useful tool in helping community toad busting groups to reduce cane toad population numbers, and in turn reduce indirect and direct impacts of cane toad on native biodiversity including native frogs.
Initially the request from Massey University had been for dead cane toads to be preserved in ethanol or formalin, with the preference being preserved in ethanol as the university was trying to avoid the use of formalin in their laboratories. As the only alternative was to fly the toads via Brisbane and then onto New Zealand neither of these methods were deemed possible. A number of alternatives were discussed on the best way to kill the cane toad humanely and also to retain the internal structures of the toad. It was decided to freeze the toads in individual ziplock bags, and store the frozen toads in Styrofoam boxes lined with ice bricks. The challenge of storing the toads in large Styrofoam boxes was met by Tropical Forestry Services in Kununurra who offered the use of their large freezer to store the toads prior to catching a Virgin Air flight via Perth to Brisbane. On arrival in Brisbane the toads were then irradiated, refrozen and then shipped to their final destination, New Zealand.
Tropical Forestry Services are well known for their community commitment and sponsorship and their offer of assistance saved the day.
While the process of getting toads to New Zealand took some time and effort the toads arrived in good order and without a hitch. Jessica emailed photographs of the first dissections and stated that all the toads dissected had really clear structures, “really tidy – it worked beautifully”!
Kimberley Toad Busters hope to encourage other Universities to start using toads instead of native frogs. In anticipation of this being the eventual outcome KTB volunteers have begun stockpiling and freezing toads in ziplock bags for future orders.
An earlier request from a Melbourne University for cane toads stipulated they required live toads not frozen toads. New Zealand’s Massey University has shown that frozen toads can be successfully regenerated for laboratory use.
Cane Toads and Litter!
Kimberley Toad Busters often get into some of the most magnificent and isolated areas of the Kimberley, many not visited on a regular basis. Despite this volunteers have become somewhat resigned to picking up rubbish left behind by other people. It is standard practice to take extra gloves and bags for this very purpose. A recent trip to Cape Dommett, a superb slice of Kimberley coast situated 160 kilometers north of Kununurra produced two surprises, one pleasant and the other not so pleasant. The good report was no evidence of cane toads, the other was the incredible amount of rubbish left around what was once one of the most pristine areas of the Kimberley. Everywhere you walked there was evidence of toilet paper, discarded cans and plastic bottles, broken chairs and tables, clothing items and baby products. Worst of all was the amount of discarded nets, fishing line and other fishing tackle, all a danger to turtles and other fish and animals.
KTB will be going back to Cape Dommett and the general area to check for toads in another month so hoping that the word has filtered through.
Where are the toads at present?
Cane toads have been reported in the southern end of the Drysdale River, ensuring their rapid movement through the north of the Kimberley this wet season. They will certainly reach Derby and Fitzroy this wet season and their rapid movement along Sturt Creek will bring them increasingly closer to Lake Gregory. Toads are also rapidly invading stations along the Gibb River Road. Kimberley Toad Busters continue to urge everyone to remove toads when you find them. Either spray them with Dettol or if you have freezer space bag them and place them in the freezer for 48 hours before burying. Every toad removed from the system helps to keep over-all numbers under control and reduces the direct and indirect impacts of the cane toad on our native biodiversity.
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If everyone became a toad buster.
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