Community News

CVCIA Landcare track down tagged cane toads at Micalo Island

Researchers from Sydney University set down the challenge for CVCIA Landcare volunteers last Friday after 106 specially marked cane toads had been caught, marked and released at five private properties on the previous two evenings and after two hours of collecting under stormy skies eight volunteers rounded up a total of 251 cane toads, including 32, or 30%, of the marked toads getting recaptured.

Back in January the same ‘experiment’ saw 41% of 600 marked toads captured at Yamba Golf Course by 20 volunteers and in case anyone wanted to be part of the research action and missed out then CVCIA Landcare and our friends from Sydney Uni will be doing it all again at Yamba Golf Course this Friday night.

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, however Dr Matt Greenlees from Sydney Uni said last Friday night that he believes ‘the results show that manual collection can be very effective at controlling toads in a small, specific area.’

In other words, if all land owners and managers applied regular toad collections as part of their land management regime there would be significantly less cane toads across the lower Clarence environment and the impacts on our native wildlife that try and snack on these poisonous protein pills would be markedly reduced.

With a solid drop of rain falling in the coastal area of the Clarence Valley last Friday night cane toads will be taking up this much overdue opportunity to reproduce their kind, much to the disappointment of those who are working hard to control this pest and landowners can help out by simply inspecting their dams, ponds and any temporarily flooded areas for toad spawn (long strings of eggs that do not float and resemble jelly shoes laces) or toad tadpoles (typically jet black in colour and seen ‘grazing’ in shallow, warm water schooling in tight schools or clusters).

The best time to inspect such water bodies is during daylight hours when the sun is high and visibility into the water is at optimum levels and any person who believes they have found toad spawn or eggs (see photo) is encouraged to remove it immediately while other signs of toad breeding should be reported to either Clarence Landcare on phone 6643 5009 or CVCIA Landcare on 0477616210 or email [email protected] for further advice.

The consistent effort of CVCIA volunteers and increasing effort by land owners at Micalo Island has seen numbers of toads plummet over the last three seasons and this season to date round-ups have collected an average of 328 toads compared to 397 and 764 in the 2017/18 and 2016/17 seasons, respectively.

This Friday night CVCIA Landcare’s effort will return to Yamba Golf Course where volunteers will meet in the southern car park (near the Yamba museum) at 7.30pm and any interested persons are most welcome to come along to see what cane toad control involves, help with cane toad research and make a difference in reducing this pest with enquiries to be directed to Scott on 0477 616 210.

Scott Lenton