Cane toad front line inches closer to Kununurra
“Cane toads are now only 27 km east of Kununurra. The good news is that there is little evidence of breeding at the front line. This is a very strong indication that the numbers moving forward are minimal. With continued community effort there is a very good chance that toads will not get a chance to firmly establish themselves in WA this wet.” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Co-Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
While numbers at the front line between Cockatoo Springs, Lake Argyle Rd, Thompson Springs, Matilda Creek and Hicks Creek on Lake Argyle are minimal there is evidence of breeding behind the lines in the Northern Territory on Newry Station. Also, with the recent wet season rains it appears new colonizing waves of cane toads are arriving.
“Cane toad numbers behind the front line are on the rise. Last week at Newry Homestead we only picked up three toads from the turkey nest, this week we picked up 60 male toads. This is a new wave of colonizing male toads moving forward.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster and Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“Unfortunately the Achilles heel between Newry Station and the WA border is the Keep River National Park. Permit issues and restrictions on access for KTB volunteers to this NT National Park bring real fears that this area will be another Kakadu and a major uncontrolled breeding area for cane toads”. Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“With the recent rains there is an abundance of suitable sites for cane toad breeding. Cane toads prefer sites of still water, with gradual slopes of little or no vegetation, normally man made. Already this season we have seen some sites where the ground is a carpet of moving cane toad metamorphs. A single female toad can lay up to 70,000 eggs per year. At the front line with abundant breeding locations and food resources the survival rate is high. We need a way of controlling cane toads while they are still small metamorphs if we have any hope of keeping cane toad numbers down in the Kimberley. Kimberley Toad Busters has found spraying Dettol around the banks of breeding sites to be the only effective option for metamorph control so far.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster and Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
Photos: Cane toad eggs, tadpoles and metamorphs. Contact Kimberley Toad Busters for more information on identification. Photo’s Del Collins and Katrina Nissen.
In other parts of Australia it has not been known that cane toads have arrived in an area until their numbers have reached high levels. Kimberley Toad Busters is urging everyone to keep an eye out for cane toads or breeding at any locations, especially between the WA border and Kununurra and along the Duncan Highway.
“From now on Kununurra is on red alert for cane toads, already four toads have been found in town as hitchhikers on vehicles. Please keep an eye out for cane toads and breeding, and an ear out for the distinctive male call. Contact Kimberley Toad Busters directly on 08 9168 2576 with any sightings.” John Cugley, Volunteer toad buster and Administration Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“The toads have crossed Duncan Rd at Dingo Springs, Matilda Creek and Hicks Creek. All Aboriginal communities along the Duncan have recently been prepared to keep an eye and ear out for the cane toads. They are ready.” Mary-Anne Winton, Volunteer toad buster and Vice President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
With the arrival of cane toads eminent many people in Kununurra have been enjoying the biodiversity of their backyards before the current balance is upset.
“If you enjoy of the number of animals in your backyard now is the time to record them. Species we know will be seriously impacted are the Northern Quoll, Ghost bat, Dingo, Freshwater crocodile, Monitor/Goanna, Frill-necked Lizard, small skinks, Blue Tongue Lizard, Carpet Python, Yellow tree snake, Black headed Python, Blue Winged Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-Eater, Birds of Prey, Owls and other night birds, Ornate Burrowing Frog and other frogs, just to name a few! There are many more species that will be impacted indirectly. It is critical we record what we have now.” Ruth Duncan, Volunteer toad buster and Education and Biodiversity Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“Up to 90 % loss of the Bungarra or Yellow Spotted Monitor was recorded for the Daly River. It has been 7 years since the cane toads arrived in the Daly and there has been no sign of recovery in their numbers. This can be expected to occur in the Ord River system. A loss of such a key predator has implications up and down the food chain.” Ruth Duncan, Volunteer toad buster and Education and Biodiversity Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
|Photo: The Yellow Spotted Monitor is an icon in Kununurra and the Ord Irrigation Area.
Up to 90 % loss of this species is expected after cane toads arrive. Photo: Dean Goodgame.
KTB MEDIA RELEASE January 2010
High resolution images of the photographs are available.
For more information contact:
Ben Scott-Virtue, KTB Field Coordinator 08 9168 2576 / 0449976002
Ruth Duncan, KTB Environmental Scientist 08 91682576 / 0400 767650
John Cugley, KTB Administration Coordinator. 08 91682576 / 0427550331
Lee Scott-Virtue, KTB Founder and President 08 91682576