What do you get up to on a Friday night? Go and see a movie? Head out to dinner with your partner? Catch up with friends at the local watering hole?
Well, what you might not realise is that most Friday nights a coordinated army of Landcare volunteers, university researchers, local ecologists and concerned community members head outside and collect cane toads to reduce the southern spread of cane toads in Australia.
Is it working? Well it just might be!
University of Sydney herpetologist and leading cane toad researcher, Dr Matt Greenlees stated “the dedication and enthusiasm of the CVCIA Landcare volunteers is truly amazing”.
“Their efforts have undoubtedly contributed to a significant decrease in the local abundance of toads in the areas where they operate and it’s entirely possible they’ve contributed to slowing the spread of toads through the Clarence region”.
Over 25,000 cane toads were removed from the Clarence Valley in the last 12 months.
And rest assured, it is a multi-pronged, coordinated attack occurring in the Clarence Valley.
Nigel Blake, Senior Land Services Officer with North Coast Local Land Services commented “LLS, NPWS, CVCIA Landcare volunteers, local ecologist Russell Jago and local landholders are all contributing to reducing the southern spread of cane toads in NSW”.
“We are truly at the southern line and our combined efforts, including working closely with the University of Sydney research team, is undoubtedly making a difference”.
The rate of spread of cane toad infestation in the Clarence Valley is significantly lower than anywhere else on the cane toad frontline in Australia.
Jeff Thomas, Pest Management Officer with NPWS explains why, “For over 15 years, a small but dedicated group of people have refused to give up in the quest to stop the cane toad spreading throughout the Clarence Valley”.
“There is no magic bullet”, Mr. Thomas said. “We have multiple people and organisations working together, manually picking up cane toads and also using a variety of other means to reduce cane toad numbers in the Clarence Valley”.
These other means include educating people on how to identify cane toads, cane toad spawn and tadpoles, providing a reporting mechanism for sightings and trialling the cane toad tadpole trap.
This last summer season, Local Land Services, NPWS and the University of Sydney tested out the newly conceived cane toad tadpole trap in locations where cane toad tadpoles were sighted in the Clarence Valley.
“It is exciting to be involved in the trail and development of a trap that landholders will easily be able to use to minimise toads breeding in their own dams,” said Mr Blake.
“We are literally putting research into action in the field and have trapped over 120,000 cane toad tadpoles in the Clarence Valley this season”.
Critical areas the team need the community to keep watch on and report any sightings are Ashby, Whiporie, Maclean, Sandon, Tullymorgan and Goodwood Island.
So, hop into action and help stop the southern march of the cane toad. You can assist by reporting any cane toad sightings to [email protected] or through the CVCIA Landcare website www.cvcia.org.au. Or why not join the CVCIA Landcare volunteers and get fit, active and help the environment all at once.
This project is supported by North Coast Local Land Services, through funding from the NSW Government’s Catchment Action NSW.