W ho are the Kimberley Toad Busters?
- This is an organisation of volunteer Community members set up by Lee Scott-Virtue and Dean Goodgame (Kimberley Specialists in Research) and Sarah Brett (Kimberley Wildlife Rescue & Kimberley Vet Centre).
- The organisation of this volunteer force is an outcome of the May 2005 Cane Toad Forum facilitated and organised by Kimberley Specialists with the assistance of Dr Andrew Storey.
Kimberley Specialists Goals:
- To pull together a sustainable & ecologically aware Community volunteer organisation to stop the cane toad from crossing into Western Australia .
- To run ‘cane toad training exercises’ in the field to establish a sustainable volunteer Leadership program.
- To put in place a methodology for volunteers to collect ecological field data as well as record general observations on cane toad behaviour.
- To determine accurately where the cane toad front line incursions have been established and to identify main colonisation and breeding areas.
- To establish a sustainable volunteer trapping program that compliments the CALM program and supports the Kimberley Toad Busters physical on-ground toad busting activities.
- To determine a ‘line of defense’ and/or ‘sacrificial’ zone between the Western Australian border and the cane toad front in preparation for a ‘final stand’ by Kimberley Toad Busters against the cane toad.
- To continue to work closely with the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley to ensure our Kimberley Community will vigilantly combat any cane toads that may cross the border.
The people who have made the Kimberley Toad Buster Volunteer movement so successful!
- Kimberley Specialists in Research (Lee and Dean) and Sarah Brett ( Kimberley Wildlife Rescue) for financial and in-kind input into organising the Kimberley Cane Toad Buster volunteer group.
- Georgina and Ju Ju Wilson & Annie Fitzgerald, our Aboriginal Co-ordinators.
- Triple J: The donation of a 21 Seater Bus, fuel and trailer to get volunteers to the cane toad front.
- Conservation and Land Management: $10,000 to Kimberley Specialists for KTB on-ground activities and $5,000 towards the maintenance of the Community Website.
- Gae Mackae and her CALM team in Kununurra and their willingness to work with the volunteer group.
- Biodiversity Protection Inc. $42,000 towards traps and safety equipment for the volunteers. (This has been a life saver).
- Kimberley Diamond Company for equipment.
- All other individuals and organisations that have sponsored equipment and contributed financially towards getting the Kimberley Toad Busters into the field.
- Graeme Sawyer: Frogwatch. His willingness to contribute his time to assist in the educational components of our cane toad training exercises.
- Peter Stubbs, CEO SWEK for the provision of a Shire 4W/D vehicle for our voluntary weekend cane toad exercises.
- All the Kimberley Toad Buster Leaders who are increasingly taking on the organisation of individual teams to travel to the front line every weekend.
- All local Community individuals and groups that have assisted towards the expense of getting volunteers to the cane toad front.
- 5 toad busting training exercises undertaken at the cane toad front since September.
- 72 volunteer cane toad leaders trained to lead volunteer groups into the field (this does not include individuals under the age of 18).
- 210 individuals have now attended cane toad training and educational sessions.
- Over 500 Community members have put up their hands to join in the volunteer activity in 2006.
- Volunteer groups of up to 80 and averaging around twenty have been hitting the cane toad front line every weekend since early September (volunteers worked over Christmas and New Year).
- The production of a safety field manual and trapping strategy in place.
- Cultural barriers broken down and a ‘unity’ of community spirit and dedication to a cause never seen before.
- CDEP registering Cane Toad Busting as a paid activity.
- Cane Toad Busting being registered as a Lions and Leo activity providing insurance for all Kimberley Toad Busters including children 12 and over.
- Kimberley TAFE, Kununurra registered cane toad trap making as a certified activity. Educational component being put in place.
- Forty seven trained toad buster leaders now registered under the CALM volunteer program.
- Good working relationship between CALM and Kimberley Toad Busters.
- Access to Bradshaw Military Base approved by Defence Department.
- Good working relationship with Frogwatch , NT .
Where to Next?
- Funding needs to be put in place to ensure that the Kimberley Toad Busters volunteer program remains sustainable.
- Kimberley Toad Busters Volunteer Cane toad Field Trap Strategy now in place. This needs to be ratified, funded and traps put into the field!
- 2 Quad bikes, trailer and a ‘Troopie’ are required to get our volunteers into some of the ‘off-road’ cane toad frontline incursions.