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Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003



Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003

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Tabled Paper 1123


Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Delia Lawrie


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Written Submissions Ecological Society of Australia Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 91 IMPORTANT ACTIONS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE RESPONSE 3. Provide a co-ordinated approach to research and monitoring of cane-toad impacts. A rigorous program of research should ensure appropriate and comparable data are collected, and ensure that all research priorities are addressed. 4. Using replicated experimental approaches, test methods for locally reducing cane toad abundance. One possible approach to locally reducing toad abundance could exploit the need that cane toads have for shelter near to permanent water to survive the dry season. Artificial shelters near dry season water holes could act as traps, allowing many adults to be exterminated. This may be an effective method on leasehold and aboriginal lands. The efficacy of community involvement in reducing toad numbers could also be established experimentally (with replicated treatment and control neighbourhoods). If toad numbers can be suppressed in urban areas, then urban bushland and wetlands may become important wildlife refuges. Research into the chemical ecology of cane toads should be encouraged and supported. Cane toads appear to rely on olfaction to locate food and anecdotal evidence suggests that they may also use olfaction to identify potential mates. Baits or traps that emit toad-specific odours may attract toads, and so offer a useful way to locally reduce toad abundance. If effective manual removal methods can be developed it would offer a potential alternative to the use of fencing for creating refuges. Manual removal could also be used to create experimental toad free areas for comparison with matched toadinfested areas. 5. Distribution of a comprehensive toad and ground-frog identification brochure. Experience in Queensland shows that the community is prepared to be involved in toad extermination but lacks sufficient information, resulting in the culling of native frogs and tadpoles erroneously. Information provided to the community needs to detail all life history stages and provide enough detailed information so that the distinctions between toads and ground dwelling frogs are clear. Information about how to kill toads ethically, and eliminate cruelty, should also be provided. 6. Provide support for long-term research into potential biological control mechanisms. Any such mechanisms must undergo comprehensive testing to ensure that the control is completely toad specific, with no risk of mutating to become virulent to native species. The long-term nature of this research should be recognised by funding bodies, to ensure there is no political pressure that may lead to a premature release of inadequately tested biocontrol agents. An extremely cautious approach to the timing of the release of biological control agents should be adopted. Given the profound ecological impacts, and the financial burden that has resulted from the uninformed introduction of cane toads, the ESA emphasises that the