Cane toads

A heartfelt cry from the Kununurra Community to the Nation.

We will Stop the Cane Toads getting into WA!

The aim of this website is to document the Kimberley Toad Busters fight to stop the cane toad crossing into Western Australia and to provide the Western Australian Community some understanding of the enormous efforts (and contributions) that can be made by unpaid volunteers!
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Volunteer CANE TOAD Training & Toad Busting NEWSLETTER No.17


The Cane Toad is a Key Threatening Process to the Australian Nation.

Federal Government 12 April 2005

This Newsletter is produced by Kimberley Specialists Research Inc and Kimberley Toad Buster Inc.

Kimberley Specialists, a founding member of the Kimberley Toad Busters continues to support the campaign against the cane toad by raising funds. KSR and KTB are tax deductible entities.



An intensive wet season toad busting, fund raising activities and a full on community education program is the reason for the long period of time between Newsletters. So much has happened with the Kimberley Toad Busters in the last 4 months that we are going to have to put out several Newsletters to bring everyone up to date. A crashed computer system also meant issues with up-dating our community website. However all is on track again in this area and Dean Goodgame will endeavor to have this up to date by the end of this month.


  • 113,523 mature breeding cane toads have now been taken from the colonising fronts by the KTBs…with countless tadpoles, metamorphs and small juveniles extinguished. In essence around 17 tonne’s of cane toad biomass removed, assisting in ‘easing’ the pressure on our Kimberley native wildlife.
  • KTBs are excited and energised to note that invading cane toad behavior is being impacted and appears to be a direct result of regular toad busting on front line populations.
  • Our toad busters have been in the field a total of 89 weekend busts since 20 September 2005 ! …and increasingly during the week with volunteers traveling from all over the state to assist.
  • Toadbusting is becoming a way of weekend life for many Kununurra and other Kimberley Community men, women and children, with over 30% of the community signed as volunteer toad busters… and over 200 trained toad buster leaders, thanks to Bob Cooper’s enormous training efforts.
  • From the Wyndham Prison Camp to Biodiversity Protection WA tin rattlers in Margaret River , from the federal government in Canberra to the WA Minister for the Environment, and local business fund-raising activities everyone is getting on board to help sustain the KTBs’ volunteer Field Campaign.
  • The Kimberley Toad Busters new cane toad brochure asking visitors traveling towards WA to be cane toad aware now widely distributed throughout the NT.
  • Around 700 hits a day on and a high number of downloads.
  • More and more people are hearing the KTB call to arms:
  • If everyone was a toad buster, the toad would be busted.

Helicopter Reconnaissance Wet Season 2007

 Kimberley Fine Diamonds, Kimberley Accommodation and individual donations have been directed towards helicopter flights to get our volunteers to toad impacted areas that could not be reached by vehicle or walking because of wet season flooding.

These flights were mainly on Auvergne Station, north between the Pinkerton Ranges and the Victoria River . KTBs flew to and landed in areas thought to be likely entry corridors for the cane toads.

We learned that the toads were just east of Bullo River Station, but were predominantly male, widely distributed and in very small numbers and as a result of the lack of females, there was no evidence of breeding. It was also noted that some adult cane toads were at the top of some of the waterfalls on the Range, again supporting the toads ability to travel even the most difficult of terrain. It appears that they only could have gained this height by climbing up the rocks of the waterfall. It is not understood why they would do this other than to source a better supply of food? This corridor through the Pinkerton Ranges and its waterfalls will dry out in the wet season and the Department of Environment and Conservation and Kimberley Toad Busters will continue to bust this area and other recently impacted corridor areas throughout the dry season. However, what is important to note and understand is that the Pinkerton Range corridor, if not halted and pushed back will result in the colonisation of the Bulla River catchment’s area and then Legune Station bringing the toads even closer to the WA border in this area.

Staying out overnight in such flooded places was trying and very wet and uncomfortable even for hardy Kimberley locals experienced in outback conditions let alone our Perth based Friend of the KTBs, Phoebe Sier who joined us on one of these harrowing trips. Nonetheless, they were worth while expeditions in leading us to better understanding of this colonising front in the wet season.

 Dean Goodgame, Del Collins, Lee Scott-Virtue, Ronnie Atkins, Phoebe Sier, Trevor Dupoit on a very wet helicopter overnight reconnaissance. The fire (elevated over the water logged plain) took 2 hours to catch alight, and give very much needed warmth to the water logged toad busters who had slept wet during their few hours sleep in domes and wet swags.

Further donations for helicopter reconnaissance are critically needed for our field campaign. Wet and dry season helicopter reconnaissance is critical for identifying the best placement of our teams. The colonising forward moving toad fronts are spread over approximately 220 kms from a north south direction and our teams have to travel up to 450 kms one way from home, much of which is over dirt roads, to reach some of the fronts.

KTB Cane Toad Education Brochure Release

The KTBs, along with the Friends of the KTBs based in Perth , have written, designed and produced a cane toad educative brochure. The brochure informs us all about the KTB cane toad eradication and education program, cane toad recognition in all stages of its life cycle, distinguishing cane toads from native frogs, and safe catching and disposal of cane toads.

Please contact us for copies of the brochure, especially if you are a petrol retailer servicing traffic coming from behind the colonising front lines towards WA. The KTBs call on all petrol retailers in the western NT and northern WA to paint our brochure information on their petrol and diesel bowsers!

Nina’s Jewellery , Kununurra have generously donated the printing costs for 10,000 copies of the brochure.

The KTBs have just completed a Darwin to Kununurra drop of the brochures at every stop along the Victoria Highway and widely distributed the brochure in Darwin and Katherine as well as throughout the Kimberley .

 Cane Toads and Burning

On the cane toad brochure delivering run between Darwin and Kununurra, the toad busters observed a number of wild fires on the landscape. Cane toads were clearly seen moving rapidly ahead of the advancing fire. In other words they knew the fire was coming and that it was something to avoid. They did this by moving during the day to the side of the highway beyond the fire. Thus it is clear that cane toads will move rapidly to avoid a bushfire. They will move during the day if threatened (essentially a nocturnal animal they are usually only moving about after dark) and they seemed to recognise that the bitumen highway might provide a break to the fire!

Nina’s Pearl Raffle for the KTBs  

Nina’s Jewellery, Kununurra have also donated a $1,500 pearl pendant for a fund raising raffle for the KTBs.

Please call us if you would like to sell tickets for the KTBs or just buy a ticket. Tickets are $5 each.

KTB Toad Catching Kits

Tuckerbox Kununurra is sponsoring KTB toadbusting kits. The Kits, which are given out with the Brochure to travelers on request, include a net, gloves, dettol, plastic bag and safety field manual.

Lee distributing brochure and Tuckerbox toadbusting kit to travellers heading out on the Victoria Highway, 19 April 2007

 KTB Cane Toad Quiz Night in Kununurra

Our cane toad quiz night was held on Saturday 21 April at the Kununurra Leisure Centre. The quiz night was hosted by MC, Kununurra NAB bank manager, Rhett Day who did a great job finding the questions, secreting the answers and making sure there was a cane toad question in every round! Thank you, Rhett! The highlight of the night was Rod King, manager of Kimberley Land Caravan Park who with the help of the odd ALE was encouraged to make a lot of bids and purchases on the night, notwithstanding the fact that his partner, Ade donates so much of her time as a tireless volunteer for the KTBs.

Gifts for the quiz night were generously donated by Kununurra Businesses, with the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley also donating the use of the Leisure Centre for the event.

Quiz Night Financial results have not been finalised but the net profit will be in the region of $4,500.


 WA government

The WA Government has agreed to provide some interim funding support for three months in the amount of $36,000. This will help sustain the KTBs who run the only field campaign present every weekend at the NT cane toad colonising front heading towards the Kimberley , while the State government reviews the effectiveness of its cane toad operations.

 Federal government

The federal government has donated $69k to purchase a second hand bus and trailer, through a grant signed off by Senator Campbell. These are used to transport our junior toad busters to the colonizing front, thereby giving our junior aboriginal and non-aboriginal cane toad warriors an opportunity to come toadbusting. This particular financial support for the KTBs will also reap great social dividends amongst the aboriginal children of Kununurra who are keen, willing and able to toad bust, and have time and again proved themselves to be remarkable toad busters in the remote country of the colonising fronts.


Biodiversity Protection WA has donated a further $20,000 to the KTB campaign. This money is raised by tin rattlers working all over WA. These donations help sustain the KTB field campaign on the ground.

 Community Educational Displays

Joe’s Café, Kununurra, as well as showing a cane toad education display, sandwiches a KTB donation tin and KTB brochures between lunches for sale.

The KTBs have now provided many front counter cane toad displays around Kununurra and beyond. These displays are found at the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley (pictured), Joe’s Café, TAFE, High School, the Library, and the Wyndham Hotel. The KTBs congratulate these businesses for their support of the KTB campaign and their role in educating our community in advance of the arrival of the cane toad, now delayed and mitigated by the KTB field campaign.

Many Kununurra residents can now recognise a cane toad, even though the cane toad is a long way away. The recognition is important because cane toads are great hitchhikers and early recognition of any advance hitchhiker invader is a critical element of the KTB campaign to save Kimberley biodiversity from the cane toad.

Cane toad exuding poison from its poison gland. This poison is fatal to Kimberley fauna.

An important outcome of the KTB education program, is the growing understanding in Kununurra of the devastating impact that the cane toad will have on the social, economic and environmental fabric of the Kimberley .

Bob Cooper Bush Survival Courses for the KTBs

Bob Cooper returned to Kununurra in April 2007 to run more bush safety and survival courses for our toad busters. Bob has volunteered significant contributions to the drafting of the KTB Safety Manual published on . Many Kununurra businesses and community members also took part in Bob’s courses. Bob also ran courses for the Wyndham prison camp whose members are building traps for the KTBs and who may also be trained to undertake biodiversity reconnaissance ahead of the cane toad colonising front. CDEP Warangarri and Wyndham ‘Save the Children’ group were also participated in the Bush Survival courses.

What’s in your back yard?

Recent trips from the WA museum have discovered new species of native frogs. It is highly likely that there are many species of Kimberley fauna as yet unrecognised, which it is critical to identify before cane toads arrive.

The KTBs believe that it is critical that we all understand what fauna we have in our backyards, which is the environment and amenity that we enjoy in our Kununurra lifestyle. All our fauna is threatened by the cane toad, our birds, butterflies, beetles and spiders, our fish and reptiles, and especially our frogs and fish. KTBs will be launching the ‘What’s in your back yard” program during the month of June.

 Mary Anne Winton: KTB Field Leader and Educator  

Mary Ann Winton is a KTB cane toad buster leader with the special role of encouraging aboriginal youth and remote aboriginal communities at the colonising front to toad bust. To date, Mary Ann has facilitated numerous toad busts for aboriginal youth from Kununurra. Mary Ann has also commenced a successful toadbusting program in the remote aboriginal communities at Bulla near the East Baines River and Yarralyn near VRD station.

Friends of the Kimberley Toad Busters up-date

Friends of the KTBs based in Perth continue to provide support for the work of the KTBs by meeting with WA Minister for the Environment, the Honourable David Templeman, Minister for Agriculture, the Honourable Kim Chances in Perth , and with DEC officers based in Perth . The Friends also continue to give talks about cane toads to rotary and school groups on request. The Friends donate legal, media and publishing skills towards the work of the KTBs.

 Kath Tremboli and Educational Documentary

Film maker, Kath Tremboli, has recently visited Kununurra to film her documentary about the Kimberley Toad Busters. Kath interviewed many toad busters and community members for her documentary, which the KTBs look forward to seeing released.

Kath was particularly interested in the social dividends being realised in the Kununurra community from the KTB campaign.



Lee or Dean on 08 9168 2576; or

Sarah Brett 0407 691 229