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Cane toads found in Perth sandalwood consignment

Cane toads in sandalwood
Cane toads in sandalwood Peter Nicholas, Parks and Wildlife

Four cane toads have been found in a sandalwood consignment at a Perth freight depot.

Department of Parks and Wildlife officers retrieved three live toads and one dead toad on Friday 6 March from a truck which had travelled from Kununurra.

Senior wildlife officer Rick Dawson said it was important primary producers in cane toad-infested areas considered biosecurity measures to keep cane toads out of trucks and other vehicles.

“The department encourages all producers in cane toad-infested areas to take all necessary precautions to stop the spread of cane toads. One way to do this is to raise their pre-transport handling processes off the ground, to reduce the risk of toad stowaways,” Mr Dawson said.

“The truck also carried bananas, but they had been thoroughly wrapped and were sealed in another part of the truck, so no toads were found within this produce.”

Mr Dawson praised the freight company, Toll Express, for immediately advising Parks and Wildlife of the discovery.

“Staff opened the vehicle and saw a toad so they did the right thing, closed it up again and called us straight away, allowing wildlife officers to thoroughly inspect the truck, he said.

“It is a serious concern that three live toads were discovered including for the first time a healthy male and two females, because of the risks of them escaping and breeding.

“There is the potential, in the right conditions, for one female laying up to 30,000 eggs to start a satellite population in the Perth metropolitan area.”

Mr Dawson reminded all travellers to check their vehicles when travelling out of known cane toad breeding areas such as the east Kimberley.

“Cane toads can hide in very small spaces so it is important to inspect vehicles, luggage, pallets, camping gear and caravans before you leave.”

Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are an invasive, fast-breeding species and toxic to many native animals.

If a suspected toad is found by a member of the public, Parks and Wildlife recommends not killing it in case it is a harmless native frog.

The animal should be isolated and the sighting immediately reported to the Parks and Wildlife cane toad hotline on 1800 44 WILD (9453)

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999