Campaigning Against Cane Toads

Peter Garrett, Australia’s Opposition Environment Spokesperson, is reported in the Age as having said,

A federal Labour government would commit $2million to a national plan to stop the spread of cane toads into the south and west of Australia.

Alas, his is pledge is unachievable; as cane toads are already in Western Australia. I saw them in Purnululu NP in May, whilst travelling with family.

There may be some political advantage and even some scientific justification for declaring Cane Toads a threatening process under the EPBC Act, but the consequential obligation of implementing a threat abatement plan will also have implications, particularly in terms of cost.

An interesting finding reported earlier in the week on ABC News, identifies that the toads leading the westward invasion are the fastest, longest legged and most susceptible to spinal disease.

The observation leads to the possibility of yet another biological control strategy, where soil bacteria might be encouraged to exploit weaknesses in the toads’ immune systems.

3 Responses to Campaigning Against Cane Toads

  1. Andrew Taylor October 19, 2007 at 7:43 am #

    You should let DEC in WA know, that you saw a toad in Purnululu. They and the various anti-toad groups aren’t aware of toads anywhere near there.

    Andrew

  2. rog October 19, 2007 at 4:26 pm #

    Garrett wants to stamp out toads!

    I was watching one of his old videos, a concert on an island (Clark? Shark?) in Sydney Harbour. He is a good performer, puts on a good show. A slab sided carrier ship went past and he was temporarily lost for words, it was an assault to his sensibilities.

    He just needs to grow up.

  3. Aaron Edmonds October 20, 2007 at 5:33 pm #

    Only way to control the toads un mass and cheaply is to get toxin resistant genes into the native Australian predators currently vulnerable to the toad’s toxins following predation, ie goannas, water birds, pythons, native fish, native predatory frogs. Natural selection would select for this over thousands of years but seeing the invasion of the toad has been so fast in biological terms, Australia’s unresistant predators of native toads haven’t had a chance to develop resistance.

    I’d propose go to the areas where the cane toad is native to. Identify the genes in their natural predators that give toxin tolerance, remove the genes and get them into a whole range of Australian reptiles and birds.

    No doubt this approach is too logical … and given our fear of transgenics the toads will make it to Perth. Baseball bats and toad traps won’t be any use in this fight!

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