Community on alert as cane toads begin to arrive in Kununurra
“Over the last month, ahead of the front line isolated ‘explorer’ toads are beginning to arrive in Kununurra. The community has done a brilliant job identifying the cane toads. Everyone from school children to Jack Russells have been successfully busting these toads as they arrive. They are large toads between 10 – 17 cm in length and likely to come into backyards at night when attracted by lights.” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Co-Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“Since 19th January only 9 toads had been reported within 15 km of Kununurra, the closest until Sunday the 7th found in the suburb of Lakeside on the 14th of February. However, with the recent rain toads are again on the move and a large female was found Sunday night on Egret Road just 5km east of the township. Toads however, are now regularly found on the road to Lake Argyle and it is KTB belief that this is still the main colonizing front. John Cugley, Volunteer toad buster, Administration Co-cordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
||Photo: A 13.5 cm Female Cane Toad found by Isobel the Jack Russell in Lakeside on the 14th February 2010. Female was gravid, with eggs nearing maturity.
Photo Sharan McLachlan.
“Everyone is keeping a careful eye out for cane toads. We have regular enquiries by people wanting to confirm the tadpoles in their dams are native and not cane toads. Local people, including school children and pets, have been brilliant in picking up cane toads and notifying either Kimberley Toad Busters or Department of Conservation and Environment. These toads are recorded and dissected for a number of research projects. The help of everyone in the community is critical.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Volunteer Toad Buster and Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“This week over 40 indigenous Rangers from across the Kimberley are joining Kimberley Toad Busters in the field. For many this is their third trip to Kununurra to learn more about cane toads and do their bit to protect the Kimberley.” Ben Scott-Virtue, Volunteer Toad Buster and Field Coordinator, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“More good news is regular checks of gravel pits and standing water between Kununurra and the border has showed no signs of breeding. It is likely the extended dry period has slowed the advance of the toads, but with recent rains the toads will be on the move once again. Everyone needs to keep their eyes out for toads, listen for the male call and contact Kimberley Toad Busters. If we can control breeding this wet we can keep toad numbers low.” Anne Marie Wilson, Indigenous Team Leader, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“The numbers of toads approaching Kununurra are much lower than when Kimberley Toad Busters first started toad busting at Victoria River and the impact on biodiversity is much lower. Reports in other areas of Australia have described billabongs looking like a scene of mass destruction – Goanna, snakes, water birds, eels, freshwater turtles all dead. We have not seen these scenes yet in WA, and hopefully with the vigilance and determination of the community they can be avoided.” Lee Scott-Virtue, Volunteer toad buster, Co-Founder and President, Kimberley Toad Busters.
“Don’t forget to be in Kununurra for the Caring for the Kimberley Environmental Forum, 19th – 21st March 2010 at the Youth Centre. Speakers from across Australia will be talking about cane toads, fire, indigenous culture and how an empowered community can help conserve the biodiversity the Kimberley is renowned for. Contact Kimberley Toad Busters for a programme.” Ruth Duncan, Education and Biodiversity Co-ordinator and Volunteer Toad Busters, Kimberley Toad Busters.
KTB MEDIA RELEASE 47 Monday 8th March 2010
High resolution images of the photographs are available.
For more information contact:
Lee Scott-Virtue, KTB Founder and President 08 91687080
Ben Scott-Virtue, Field Coordinator. 08 91682576
John Cugley, KTB Administration Coordinator. 08 91682576 / 0427550331