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Cane toads beware

Media release: 15 April 2014

New guidelines released today by the Office of Environment and Heritage will help local councils and other land managers stop the spread of cane toads.

Office of Environment and Heritage Chief Executive Terry Bailey said the publication ‘Eradicating cane toads in NSW outside their current range of distribution’ provides guidelines based on best available knowledge for eradicating cane toads, particularly in areas where they have not become established.

“Cane toads can be a serious threat to wildlife and we want to help councils and other land managers stop them from moving into new areas,” Mr Bailey said.

“Councils in Sutherland and Port Macquarie, for example, have made great progress and these guidelines aim to give others the benefit of their experience.

“At Lake Innes, Port Macquarie, cane toads bred from 1997 to 2007 but a collaborative effort involving Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Hastings Landcare, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Frog and Tadpole Study Group NSW and the community, reduced cane toad numbers to such low levels that they are unlikely to persist in the area.

“In 2010, at Taren Point, 50 cane toads were discovered in an industrial area, however Sutherland Shire Council acted swiftly after the initial discovery and with the help of a cane toad working group developed a comprehensive eradication program.

“More than 650 cane toads were collected between March 2010 and October 2011. Most recent reports are that 38 toads were collected over the summer of 2013-2014 and the hope is that there were no toad breeding events in the area.

“This is a fantastic result and I’d like to congratulate Sutherland Shire Council for their quick and comprehensive action.

“This great outcome would not have been possible without the participation of all members of the Sydney Cane Toad Working Group, including the Shine Laboratory at Sydney University.”

Mr Bailey said the guidelines contained a wide range of information and advice about surveying and finding cane toads, eggs and tadpoles, identification, habitat modification to prevent breeding, community involvement and educational materials.

“The guidelines will be invaluable if cane toad populations are discovered in other areas,” he said.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Steve Simpson congratulated the efforts of Council staff and the community.

“Cane toads present a major threat to biodiversity and can spread quickly, particularly when accidently transported by unsuspecting drivers who have travelled from areas such as Queensland and Northern NSW,” the Mayor said.

“Over the last 30 months Council has provided over $54,000 to curb the spread of cane toads through studies, research and education programs. This would not be possible without the help of community volunteers who have donated upwards of $45,000 of in-kind work through Council programs.”

The guidelines were finalised with the assistance of the Sydney Cane Toad Working Group which included Sutherland Shire Council, Sydney University, the Frog and Tadpole Society, the Office of Environment and Heritage, Greater Sydney Local Land Services and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Funding for the Sydney Cane Toad Eradication Program and for printing the guidelines was obtained from the NSW Environmental Trust, with additional funds from Sutherland Shire Council and Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

Cane toads can sometimes be confused with native species, so people are asked – if they find one – not to kill it, but to put it in a container and report it to their local council or contact the Office of Environment and Heritage on 131 555.

Information on cane toads including how to identify them is on the Office of Environment and Heritage website: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/CaneToads.htm

The guidelines are available to download at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/pestsweeds/130118CaneTbpg.pdf

Images available.

Contact: Roger Bell

Page last updated: 15 April 2014