Friends of Kimberley Toad Busters
28 March 2007
CANE TOAD RESEARCH GETS A BOOST!
AGRICULTURE WA HELPS KTBs
Dead cane toads – normal and abnormal, for education and scientific purposes - can now be brought back to Kununurra after the recent grant by Ag WA of a licence to Lee Scott-Virtue, the field coordinator for and president of the Kimberley Toad Busters, based in Kununurra.
The Kimberley Toad Busters - who now comprise over 30% of the Kununurra community - have been toadbusting every weekend for over 19 months, therein eradicating 101,001 cane toad adults to date from the colonising fronts spread across 120,000 sq kilometres.
Lee says, “Our work is in the Northern Territory , 100s kms from Kununurra. WA quarantine regulations prohibit bringing dead cane toads back to WA, even for educative purposes, without a licence. Of even greater importance, is that when we found abnormal toads that might be of interest to scientists studying Cane Toads, all we could do was photograph them and distribute the photos by email to the scientists”. Now the KTBS through Lee are authorised to bring the toads back to Kununurra, AS LONG AS THEY ARE DEAD. “We would not want to bring them in any other way!” said Lee.
The KTBs are most grateful to the Minister for Agriculture, the Honourable Kim Chance for his support for this approach from the KTBs, and to his Department for issuing the licence. However, the KTBs still have had no funding from the WA State government for their volunteer field campaign.
The KTBs analyse their toad catches, so any abnormalities are soon observed. Based in Kununurra, KTB volunteer, Ade Meredith, who heads up the KTB scientific advisory committee, is delighted because as she says, “Some of the cane toads we find have ulcers of indeterminate cause, have three or five legs, are blind or look just plain sick!” The scientists are also interested in looking at any animal that is found attached to or feeding on a cane toad, such as leeches – which the KTBs regularly find. “We hope that studying these toads by more than a photograph might lead our scientists to a break through against this devastating pest.”
Contacts: Ade Meredith (KTB scientific advisory committee): 08 9168 1280
Lee Scott Virtue (KTB president and Field Coordinator): 08 9168 2576
Sandy Boulter (Friends of the KTBs in Perth ): 0427 508 582; Friendsktb@yahoogroups.com
Errol Kruger , head of the cane toad team, DEC, Kununurra: 0427 388 863
Deb Pergolotti from the Frog Decline Project in Queensland : (0418) 152 199 or 4053 4367
Dr David Peacock, Pest Animal Project Officer from the Animal and Plant Control Group at the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, South Australia:08 8303 9504
Dr Mike Tyler from University of South Australia : 08 8302 6611