Fast-moving cane toads pose risk
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.
Greens Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple agreed there was a possibility the toads could reach the Pilbara in coming months.
“They’re not in Derby yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see them by the end of this wet season (there). They’re really quite prolific,” he said. “They overpopulate an area. . . in a short space of time, and once you get to that volume they have to move.
“They can travel 3km a day and will actually go across dry country to try and find another source of water.”
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.
Member of Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price also expressed concerns about their movement.