Cane toad collection to assist with trial

Cane toad sausages
Cane toad sausages Jasper Kruse, WA Parks and Wildlife

As part of a trial teaching native animals not to eat toxic cane toads, the Department of Parks and Wildlife is seeking the assistance of Kununurra residents to collect toads for the production of taste aversion sausages.

Parks and Wildlife cane toad program coordinator Corrin Everitt said research showed that feeding small cane toads to native predators such as floodplain goannas or giving northern quolls toad mince sausages containing a nausea-inducing salt, made them feel sick.

“This experience leads to these predators avoiding toads when they subsequently encounter them,” she said.

Ms Everitt said the department, in partnership with the University of Sydney and other groups including the Balanggarra rangers, had been testing techniques to reduce the threat of invasive toads to native wildlife such as quolls and goannas.

“Rolling out taste aversion trials across large areas poses logistical problems such as getting enough toads to make taste aversion sausages, ensuring they are attractive to native wildlife, transporting them to remote areas and then distributing them in challenging weather, especially in the summer wet season when toads are spreading rapidly,” Ms Everitt said.

“Kununurra residents can help us in this task by collecting cane toads so they can be turned into the taste aversion sausages.”

Ms Everitt said Professor Rick Shine from the University of Sydney - this year’s winner of the NSW Scientist of the Year and Prime Minister’s Prize for Science - would be working with Parks and Wildlife on this project, along with experienced researcher Georgia Ward-Fear.

“Various baits and the use of small toads will be used in trials over the coming wet season and the results will be monitored so that techniques can be improved,” she said.

“Native species do have the ability to learn to avoid toads provided an individual’s first experience is with a small toad, not one of the large highly toxic toads.

“The goal is to ensure that quolls, goannas and other toad-susceptible species continue to re-establish robust populations after the initial impacts of the arrival of cane toads.”

 Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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Last modified on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 08:59