Community News

A handful of toads collected from private property in West Yamba recently.

Landowners the key to cane toad control

Hearing the naysayers exclaim, “You’ll never beat those toads!”, simply wanting to free their local environment of excess cane toads or observing the difference consistent cane toad control effort makes have motivated increasing numbers of Lower Clarence landowners to conduct toad management on their own properties to great effect.

Numbers of cane toads collected by CVCIA Landcare volunteers have shown a consistent downward trend over the last two seasons and in places where landowners are actively controlling toads and toad breeding, the results are even more encouraging.

It is often stated by toading volunteers that ‘If everyone collected toads in their own patch then toads would be controlled’ and the positive results achieved by active, committed landowners like Colleen Cashman at West Yamba, Geoff Ward at Micalo Island or Daphne Farlow at James Creek and a growing band of private landowners demonstrates that localised toad eradication is a reality.

In Angourie and Wooloweyah where the Clarence Valley’s first populations of cane toads established in the 1990’s, toads are now considered to be eradicated from Wooloweyah and only occasional or rare finds in Angourie due to combined action by NPWS, toading contractors, CVCIA Landcare, and last but not least, active landowners like Angourie’s Grant and Imelda Jennings.
Success stories like Wooloweyah and Angourie, and a growing number of local sites where toad numbers are falling, demonstrate that toad control is not a quick fix and relies on dedication, regular checks, good strategy as well as some assistance from Mother Nature who has contributed this season providing drier than average conditions, causing some breeding sites to dry out and so thwarting much potential for mass additions to the local toad population.

Most CVCIA Landcare toading outings this season have seen declining numbers of toads collected and with much less recruitment from breeding this season continued effort is likely to provide greater reductions into 2020 that could provide the positive tipping point everyone is hoping for and the more landowners that lend a hand the better.

Manual collection of cane toads is typically the biggest hurdle for people to overcome though once it is successfully done a couple of times the stress on the collector reduces markedly and with good technique there should not be too much stress for the toad either.

Inexperienced toad collectors are advised to start off by using a large yoghurt or small ice-cream container in one hand with lid in the other to scoop up and secure a toad, and for those who are a little more adventurous simply grabbing the toad with hand in a good gardening glove and then placing the toad in a suitable container, then placing the container into a fridge for 8 hours prior to transferring to a freezer for two days is sufficient to humanely and properly euthanise a toad before it is disposed into a domestic red-lid bin or buried (without the container) in your garden as a natural fertiliser ‘tablet’.

Persons who have any further enquiries about control of cane toads or want advice on correctly identifying a cane toad or any other toady topic are encouraged to visit the CVCIA Landcare Facebook page, email, or come along to this Friday nights toading session at Yamba Golf Course where volunteers will meet in the southern car park near the Yamba Museum at 7pm with sturdy shoes and a bright torch or headlamp essential for successful and safe toading.

Scott Lenton