Community News

Micalo Island cane toads engage in arm wrestle

Cane toad numbers at Micalo Island have shown a market decline in the last two seasons as CVCIA Landcare and landowners have upped the pressure on the pest in an effort to make the island toad free and whilst numbers continue to decline this season the much-maligned pest is fighting back.

In most outings to Micalo Island this season the tallies have been bolstered by large numbers of small toads from recent breeding events showing that whilst overall numbers fall and the numbers of breeding adults drops there is still strong recruitment from breeding that needs to be kept in check and the committed effort cannot be relaxed.

Last Friday night 14 dedicated CVCIA volunteers continued to apply pressure to the Island toads and the nights tally, with a season high for Micalo of 515 toads, was again dominated by 80% immature toads being captured.

With the main breeding sites on the Island now being known for about a year it is hoped that focussing on those sites as well as any emerging breeding habitat will seriously limit recruitment in the coming year or two giving the volunteers and landowners who are locked in this arm wrestle a clear upper hand.

With the weather becoming more humid over the last week, and the prime breeding months of this season ticking away, toad activity would appear to be ramping up in anticipation of good rain bringing abundant breeding opportunities, however while ideal breeding conditions do not exist with the current dry spell there is added incentive to remove as many toads as possible from the lower Clarence before they get the chance they are waiting for. 

Any landowners in the area south of the Clarence River bounded by Maclean/Ilarwill, Townsend, Gulmarrad, Taloumbi, Lake Wooloweyah and Palmers Channel, including James Creek, who have freshwater dams or water bodies and would like their properties checked for cane toads are encouraged to contact Clarence Landcare on phone 6643 5009 or email [email protected] to organise for an inspection to be completed.

Knowing that cane toads don’t really mind what side of the Clarence River they colonise CVCIA Landcare will be conducting a check of the Woombah and Goodwood Island localities this Friday night (15 February) and landowners in that area that would like their property or neighbourhood checked and would like to help out by collecting toads on the night are requested to contact CVCIA Landcare toading contact Scott Lenton on 0438430234 or email [email protected].

All interested persons are invited to meet at the Woombah RFS building on Iluka Road at 7.45pm on Friday with children to be accompanied by a responsible adult and participants asked to wear sturdy shoes, bring a bright torch or headlamp as well as a lidded 10L (minimum) bucket if available and CVCIA Landcare will supply the gloves, free on-the-job training, education and toad disposal services.

Scott Lenton