New spray stop­ping hop­ping

Townsville Bulletin - - News - Ryan Mathe­son

SCI­EN­TISTS have un­veiled a se­cret weapon in the on­go­ing fight for back­yard dom­i­nance against one of Queens­land’s most iconic pests.

Pest an­i­mal man­age­ment agency Pe­s­tat has launched the first Aus­tralian aerosol to com­bat cane toads.

The lethal spray has just hit hard­ware store shelves across North Queens­land af­ter more than six years worth of re­search.

The spray, ti­tled HopS­top, be­came a re­al­ity af­ter re­ceiv­ing ap­proval from the Aus­tralian Pes­ti­cides and Ve­teri­nary Medicines Au­thor­ity re­cently.

HopS­top has been tri­alled suc­cess­fully in ar­eas like Townsville, Ma­reeba and the Ather­ton Table­lands.

The lemon-scented spray anaes­thetises toads within 10 sec­onds be­fore pain­lessly poi­son­ing them within an­other 10 min­utes.

Pe­s­tat man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dr David Dall said the spray was a hu­mane method of con­trol­ling cane toad num­bers.

‘‘ We be­lieve that de­stroy­ing any an­i­mal, whether a pest or not, should al­ways be done in the most hu­mane way pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

Cane toads have reached plague pro­por­tions af­ter be­ing de­lib­er­ately in­tro­duced into Queens­land in the 1930s in an un­suc­cess­ful bid to con­trol the cane bee­tles de­stroy­ing sug­ar­cane crops.

TRASH­ING TOADS: Dr David Dall checks his spec­i­mens lead­ing up the the launch of a hu­mane spray

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