“When we started, we knew that this would take a team effort from the whole community, aboriginal and non- aboriginal”, said Lee Scott-Virtue, “And it has”, she added. “For our junior toadbusters, this has been a way of life for three years. We have grown together to become cane toad experts and understand how they devastate our wildlife”.
Photo: Gurandji leader, Maryanne Winton educating junior Toadbusters about cane toads and safe toadbusting
|“Mark did not hesitate when I asked him to be our patron”, said Mary Anne Winton, KTB Board Member and Volunteer Aboriginal KTB Coordinator and Leader, “because he knows of the great social benefits this campaign has had in Kununurra and beyond. Many of our adult Toadbusters come from remote communities and are happy to volunteer as Toadbusters. If only we had salaries for aboriginal toadbuster leaders, this would grow faster as a unique and productive model of work in remote communities”, she said. “We have cane toad busting approved as a CDEP program and now we just need the government to find salaries for full time coordinators for this effort for it to really take off. Cane toads destroy our bushtucker, our animals and our water systems – they change things and destroy our indigenous heritage.”
“We have been asking for salaries to coordinate and educate in the remote communities about cane toads for over a year, but we have not been heard,” she added. “The government people seem to see this simply as only an environmental issue that cannot be fixed. It is much more complex and than that,” she adds. “We are trying to protect our way of life and our bushtucker from toxic cane toads brought to Australia a long time ago by people who did not understand this country. It is sad to see our turtles and goannas dying from cane toads and I wonder where it will all stop.”
Photo: Cane Toad
P hotos: KTBs are saving frog eaters such as this Meerten’s Monitor and Brahminy Kite, which die from ating cane toads.
We have asked the State and federal governments for salaries to run the indigenous cane toad busting
rogram in remote communities, specifically writing to federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ms Jenny
Macklin – who has responded that she cannot help because this is only an environmental issue; and to the State government over a year ago and that they have not yet responded,” says Sandy Boulter of the KTBs.
As over 2,000 Kununurra based registered Kimberley Toad Buster award acknowledged volunteer toad redators are about to enter their FOURTH YEAR of WEEKLY hunting and gathering cane toads over 200,000 sq kms as a way of life, they are working hard to save species from extinction by the cane toad invasion. Cane toads poison just about all fauna that eat it, pollute ecosystems and use up food resources. The KTBs have caught, weighed, measured, killed and recorded over 300,000 adult cane toads; and countless millions of tadpoles and metamorphs (thereby taking over150,000 kgs of cane toad biomass out of our already threatened precious NT desert eco-systems) with the help of private donations, Lotterywest and the federal (and more recently the WA State) government.
As at August 2008, the KTB toadbusting comprises an estimated 480,000 olunteer field hours (not counting the volunteer administration hours). At $20 an hour, this equates to $9,600,000 volunteer field work value. Be nice to see our NT, WA and federal governments put this much effort into keeping cane toads out of the Kimberley and away from our already threatened fauna!
KTBs at www.canetoads.com.au KTB MEDIA RELEASE 1 September 2008
Use of the photos in this media release must be authorised by the KTBs and the photographer acknowledged For more information contact:
Lee Scott Virtue:
Founder&President KTBs based in Kununurra&Nicholson Station 9168 7080 or 9168 2576
Sandy Boulter :
Acting KTB Vice President, Toadbuster, Coordinator Perth based Friends of the KTBs: 0427 508 582
Mary Anne Winton:
Aboriginal Elder and Leader: 08 9168 7177
Mark Bin Barker and MaryG :
http://www.maryg.net/ firstname.lastname@example.org; 08 9192 1390