Epi­demic

Fight against Cane toads

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Mitchell Wood­cock

Cane toads are head­ing south at a rapid rate, with the Pil­bara at im­mi­nent risk this wet sea­son, ac­cord­ing to an ex­pert.

Kim­ber­ley Toad Busters founder and pres­i­dent Lee Scott-Virtue be­lieves the in­fes­ta­tion will hit the Pil­bara dur­ing this wet sea­son and it will soon be­come clear as to how long it will take un­til it hits the metropoli­tan area.

Ms Scott-Virtue has been part of the fight against cane toads since 2004 and was part of the force fight­ing them when they crossed into the Kim­ber­ley in 2009.

“Peo­ple have been find­ing toads in un­usual lo­ca­tions. There is no doubt once we hit the wet sea­son prop­erly, toads will move quickly,” she said.

“I can as­sure you they will pop­u­late the whole of Aus­tralia one day. The toads are mov­ing rapidly through the Lake Gre­gory sys­tem.

“Perth may as well start pre­par­ing for the cane toads in­va­sion.”

Cane toads were in­tro­duced to Queens­land from Hawaii in 1935 to erad­i­cate bee­tles that were de­stroy­ing the su­gar cane crops.

They are pro­lific breed­ers all year round and have spread across north­ern Aus­tralia.

In Novem­ber, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on the En­vi­ron­ment and En­ergy an­nounced a pub­lic in­quiry to un­der­stand how well con­trol mea­sures have worked in the fight against the spread of the de­struc­tive pests, and whether other new con­trols should be im­ple­mented.

Sub­mis­sions to the in­quiry are open un­til the end of the month and must ad­dress the ef­fec­tive­ness of con­trol mea­sures to limit the spread of cane toads in Aus­tralia and ad­di­tional sup­port for cane toad pop­u­la­tion con­trol mea­sures.

Pub­lic hear­ings will be held in Can­berra this Fe­bru­ary.

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