‘HITCH­HIKER’ CANE TOAD FOUND IN DERBY

Camper Trailer Australia - - NEWS -

Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife WA is ask­ing trav­ellers to keep an eye out for ‘hitch­hik­ers’ in their camp­ing rig, after a live cane toad was found at tourist ac­com­mo­da­tion in Derby, WA.

Parks and Wildlife cane toad pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor Cor­rin Everitt said the toad had been spot­ted on Au­gust 21 be­fore it was iden­ti­fied at the depart­ment’s West Kim­ber­ley district of­fice in Broome, where it was eu­thanised shortly there­after.

Ms Everitt sus­pects that trav­ellers had ac­ci­den­tally brought the toad to Derby in their lug­gage from Ku­nunurra.

“We’re ask­ing all trav­ellers to be vig­i­lant be­fore leav­ing ar­eas where cane toads are present, such as Ku­nunurra, to care­fully check their lug­gage, in par­tic­u­lar swags and bags that can sit on the ground,” she said..

“Cane toads can hide in very small spa­ces so it’s im­por­tant to check your load. In­spect ve­hi­cles, lug­gage, pal­lets, camp­ing gear and car­a­vans be­fore you leave.”

En­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist and Cam­per Trailer Australia con­trib­u­tor Scott Heiman echoed Ms Everitt’s con­cerns and said the rapid ad­vance of cane toads west­wards into new ar­eas is a “real and present dan­ger” to Australia’s en­demic wildlife.

“Na­tive species that are not ac­cus­tomed to their poi­sonous na­ture will die,” Heiman said.

“All trav­ellers should be vig­i­lant to pest species in the ar­eas they are trav­el­ling through be they plant or an­i­mal,” he said.

If a sus­pected toad is found by a mem­ber of the pub­lic, Parks and Wildlife rec­om­mends not killing it in case it is a harm­less na­tive frog.

The an­i­mal should be iso­lated in a con­tainer and im­me­di­ately re­ported to Parks and

Wildlife, with a photo to (0400) 693 807 or cane­toads@dpaw.wa.gov.au

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