New South Wales, Australia – While some areas of the country are not as greatly affected by the poisonous cane toad, Yamba in New South Wales is overwhelmed. That is why the NSW National parks and Wildlife Service has teamed up with the Land and Property Management Authority, Clarence Valley CIA and Angourie Dune Care Group to run the 13th annual Yamba Cane Toad Muster held on Sunday evening, February 20, 2011.
This year’s haul netted over 1500 cane toads that have poison glands on their shoulders which can kill a dog or cat that manages to pick-up one of these critters in their mouth. Cane toad poison in pets is very dangerous and causes rapid heartbeat, convulsions and death in minutes. National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger Steve Hodgson said the round-up was to reduce the potential of cane toads spreading to areas further south. “The cane toad collections appear to have reduced cane toad numbers in the Yamba and Angourie areas,” he said.
There were 186 individuals participated in this year’s successful event. Hodgson said “This is a credit to the efforts of all the volunteers who have consistently helped to reduce the spread of these pests. “The cane toad is a serious threat to native wildlife. It has a voracious appetite and can feed on and compete with other native animals for food.” “I am concerned that, in the absence of sustained efforts, the remaining toads at Angourie will be allowed to spread back into Wooloweyah and Yuraygir National Park, and we will have cane toads in the main streets of Maclean and Iluka.”
Janet Cavanaugh of the Clarence Valley CIA said, “Cane toad numbers in the Clarence Valley would explode due to the NSW Government’s failure to provide co-ordination of local control efforts. The annual Yamba Cane Toad Muster is the flagship community event to highlight the need to control cane toads in the Clarence Valley but (Sunday’s) muster may be the last. The musters have involved hundreds of people and have been responsible for the collection and humane disposal of thousands of toads. However, budget cuts and a change in direction in the department means the musters may not occur in future years, and that NPWS staff and contractor time spent collecting toads will be drastically reduced.”
To help with this pest problem, a small Canberra Bio-tech company has just released a new household spray called Hop Stop which is designed to kill cane toads in less than a minute. ”It’s not toxic to people or family pets, and won’t contaminate the garden with chemical residue. You spray the toads, they hop a bit slower, stop hopping and become unconscious. It kills them in their sleep.” Dr Dall’s company Pestat, developed the spray to help prevent family pets being killed by toads in suburban yards. ”We’re hoping people will use this spray rather than golf clubs and cricket bats to kill cane toads,” Mr Dall said. ”Its active ingredient, chloro-xylene, is already in use in personal care products.”