7000 toads caught in annual roundup
TOWNSVILLE’S wildlife warriors stepped out in force over the weekend to do battle with one of North Queensland’s most iconic pests.
More t han 7000 t oads, weighing in at a combined total of about 600kg, were handed over at yesterday’s Toad Day Out, stomping last year’s Townsville total of 391kg.
Townsville City Council Environmental and Sustainability committee chairman Cr Vern Veitch said this year’s wet season had produced ideal conditions for catching the critters.
‘‘ Participant numbers are down this year but the individuals’ hauls are continuing to increase which is wonderful to see,’’ he said.
‘‘ The project is about getting the kids doing something active while instilling an environmental ethic into our younger generation.
‘‘ It’s also really important we don’t allow the animals to be tortured or stressed any more than they need and the day provides a perfect way to do that.’’
Budding Bluewater environmentalist Bryden Ganly was handed the top gong for Townsville’s heaviest toad which weighted in at a whopping 406g.
The eight-year-old nicknamed the beast ‘‘ Jackpot’’ after taming the toad during a late-night patrol of his neighbourhood on Saturday.
The youngster stored his prize catch overnight in a picnic basket containing about 240 other toads he coll ected f r om t he s ur- rounding area. Bryden said the catch was almost too good to be true.
‘‘ When I saw him coming towards me I knew I had hit the jackpot,’’ he said.
‘‘ He was kicking a little bit when I got my hands on him but I wasn’t going to let this one go.’’
Bryden’s mother, Kristel, said the youngster was keen to be an environmentalist.
‘‘ He had an absolute blast being able to get out there and dive around like Steve Irwin,’’ she said.
‘‘ We were using nets last year but it was taking up too much time so he preferred the hands-on approach this year.
‘‘ His heroes are people like Ranger Dan and Bear Grylls so I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues down that track in the future.’’
The toads are set to be humanely euthanised with carbon dioxide before becoming learning aids for Townsville’s future zoologists at James Cook University.
Hands On Wildlife owner ranger Dan Bamblett said the annual event provided a host of benefits.
‘‘ Any information we can get into decreasing toad numbers across Australia is going to be a huge help,’’ he said. ‘‘ Researchers have discovered so many things in the past two years that we knew nothing about s o these types of projects are very important.
‘‘ A lot of the kids here will go home today and keep track on the environment around them so it’s a great way for them to continue to learn.’’
The Rains family were the top toadbusters again after almost tripling last year’s total and weighing in 1820 toads. MONSTER: Bryden Ganly, 8, from Bluewater took out the prize for the l argest toad, weighing in at 406g