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26 March, 2019

Halting the cane toad march

By Carl Portella

Kissing one of these guys will certainly not result in a Prince Charming!

The Housing Standard committee on the Environment has released its report into controlling the spread of cane toads.  The inquiry focused on the effectiveness of current control measures, and options for additional support to combat the problem.

Dr David Gillespie MP, Chair of the Committee, said that the Committee heard there was no easy solution.

‘Cane toads are firmly established in Australia and we are unlikely to get rid of them entirely. What we can do is work to limit their numbers where they have already invaded, and prevent their spread into the places they have not reached.’

‘Unless we take action, one small hop for a cane toad might turn into a giant leap for their kind.’

The Committee has recommended that funding be made available for various practical control measures. These include establishing a water-less barrier between the Kimberley and Pilbara regions to prevent toads from moving further southward in Western Australia. The Committee also endorsed efforts to stop toads reaching offshore islands and other untouched areas; as well as expanded use of cane toad tadpole traps and baits, in cooperation with community groups, to reduce existing populations.

The Committee reported that biological and genetic research has the potential to provide larger-scale responses in the medium to long term, and recommended support for ongoing research.

The Committee urged the Federal Government to play a stronger leadership role in funding and coordinating measures to control the spread of cane toads. ‘At the same time, the Federal Government can’t do it all alone’, Dr Gillespie said.

‘State and Territory governments are at the frontline of action against cane toads, and all levels of government can do better to ensure effective strategies and coordinated efforts.’

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