Researchers from Sydney University set down the challenge for CVCIA Landcare volunteers last Friday after 600 specially marked cane toads had been caught, marked and released at Yamba Golf Course on the previous three evenings and after two hours of collecting by 20 volunteers on the Friday night a total of 644 cane toads were recorded including 245, or 41%, of the 600 marked toads being recaptured.
What these results mean in terms of the effectiveness of manual collection by volunteers as a method of controlling cane toads is yet to be determined and no doubt more of the marked toads will be recaptured by CVCIA toaders during Friday night toad round-ups at this venue in coming months, whilst researchers hope to be back again in March to do it all again.
With just 1mm of rain falling in Yamba so far this year and with a week of dry, hot weather forecast for the Lower Clarence there is a good chance the toad grounds will see their driest January on record and just how this impacts on returns from the CVCIA Landcare Friday night round-ups remains to be seen.
Three weeks ago CVCIA collected 790 toads from the golf course and last Friday’s tally of 644 toads was the lowest January result for that venue since January 2015 when 519 toads was collected by only three volunteers and so the dry weather or some other environmental factor, such as the windy night, may be a factor in this reduction, however it could also be related to the pressure applied by researchers over the three previous nights, the volunteer effort over a number of years or a combination of them all.
The big concern is that when the Lower Clarence does get reasonable rainfall there is expected to be an explosion of cane toad breeding activity and if that occurs across the entire Lower Clarence then it will be extremely difficult for the combined effort from the CVCIA Landcare volunteers and contractors engaged by the NSW government to get on top of the breeding and control new recruits of young toads over the month or so following such a breeding event.
Keeping cane toad breeding in check requires effective monitoring of known and likely breeding sites during daylight hours when the sun is high and visibility of water bodies is at optimum levels and any person who is interested in assisting with this aspect of cane toad control is encouraged to contact CVCIA Landcare to see how they can be active in the control effort.
Next Friday night CVCIA Landcare’s effort will return to Ilarwill and Maclean where local residents and CVCIA volunteers are reporting lower numbers of toads hopefully as a direct result of volunteer effort to control this pest species, however there is potential that the continuing dry ground conditions could be as much to credit for reduced toad numbers.
Volunteers will meet at the Wherrett Park Sports Centre car park (at the north side of the centre) off Rannock Avenue at 8pm on Friday January 25 and any interested persons are most welcome to come along to see what cane toad control involves and help make a difference with enquiries to be directed to Scott on 0438 430 234.