Community News

Woombah’s cane toads buck the trend

Cane toads in Woombah seem to be trending in opposing directions at both a village and Lower Clarence scale following CVCIA’s Landcare’s latest toad round-up at Woombah last Friday night.

Two years ago, almost to the day, ten CVCIA Landcare volunteers checked seven areas in Woombah for cane toads ranging from a site beside the Old Pacific Highway on the village’s western fringe to Woombah Reserve closer to the eastern, or Iluka, side and a total of 152 toads were collected with a clear trend of reducing numbers from properties located further from the highway.

Fast forward to last Friday night when nine volunteers checked three sites over a very similar range through Woombah and the numbers of toads found displayed a substantial reversal, both in total toads collected as well as where the majority of toads were collected, with the 287 toads gathered on the night showing a clear preference for a new site towards the east side of Woombah well away from the highway, whilst the Old Pacific Highway site returned the lowest tally.

With the Woombah round-ups being separated by two seasons CVCIA Landcare isn’t panicking in light of these results as often there can be quite marked variation in numbers of toads collected from round-up to round-up and the longer term trends of declining toad numbers that have been observed from consistent checking of sites in Angourie, Yamba, Brooms Head, Micalo Island and Maclean are where the Group needs to maintain focus. 

Recent expansion of CVCIA toading into areas like Ashby and Illarwill is expected to result in the declining trend with a more consistent application of volunteer and landowner resources and certainly the same would be expected in the Woombah area if extra effort can be applied as not only does additional effort catch more toads it also provides very valuable local intelligence as to preferred toad hangouts and breeding locations that need special attention for effective control of this pest species. 

Toads display a strong preference for breeding in dams, ponds or other non-flowing waterbodies that have good access to sunlight, have low sloping banks and shallow water around the edges where higher water temperatures will aid rapid development of toad tadpoles from the short 2-3 day stage as eggs or spawn through to the emergence of small toads, or metamorphs, after a month or so. 

Landowners in the Lower Clarence with such watery habitats and known toad presence are quite likely to be accidentally contributing to toad breeding opportunities and landowners who are interested in controlling toad breeding are encouraged to contact Clarence Landcare on 6643 5009 or email to arrange for a property inspection, as several landowners have already done, as part of a new cane toad control program funded by the NSW Government. 

In the meantime, CVCIA Landcare volunteers and interested landowners will continue to conduct Friday night round-ups and this Friday February 22, CVCIA Landcare will again be visiting the Ashby area to further control and learn about the extent of toads with all interested person invited to join the experience by meeting at the Ashby Community Hall in Lismore Street at 7.45pm and all attendees should wear sturdy shoes, bring a bright torch or headlamp and a sense of adventure, with any enquiries directed to Scott Lenton on 0477 616 210 or email