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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Written Submissions The Bush Nursery Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 143 SUBMISSION NO. 20 The Bush Nursery / Northern Territory Horticultural Society Katherine Mr Ian and Mrs Elizabeth Clark PO Box 507 Katherine NT 0851 23 May 2003 Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Dear Committee We do not need to appear before the commission unless it is deemed necessary. 1. We have identified a number of problems with Cane toads in our nursery. The toad will burrow into seed trays and we lose quite a few seedlings because of this. The only alternative is to put the trays on a higher stand. Ponds and water features are not recommended if they are on ground level as they will foul the water. They do seem to notice the difference between water that is chlorinated and plain water. We have never had a cane toad fall into or are near our chlorinated water. They can climb the height of a bathtub but cannot get out. They will also fall into a trench and not be able to climb out. The ecology has changed in the nursery. We have noticed more ants and in the last couple of weeks dead rats and an increase in the animals e.g. bandicoots. Natural predators of some animals have decreased. No large goannas only smaller ones and less snakes. There are also less native frogs. Just a couple here and there, but not as many as there used to be. With or without the use of plastic mulch in the production of fruit and vegetables it has been found that the cane toad burrows into the soil where the drippers are killing the seedling plants. 2. The effect of the toad on growers and nursery people is an extra cost in production. More problem insect gaining a foothold. Other animals that do not eat toads will increase e.g. bandicoots, because the natural predators have taken a hammering since the toad appeared. 3. Aboriginal people may not be able, to hunt their traditional animals until it is proved that the populations have returned to a good number again. Fishing stocks in the river seem to be down. 4. There is not enough information on the toads to date. A few pamphlets came out in the beginning but it did not mention any of the toad's habits that we should have been told about e.g. they will climb the height of a bathtub. Their poison ability. Their egg laying capabilities, effect on domestic dogs and how to cope with it. How to distinguish between native frog eggs and toad eggs. The smell they have alive or dead. Spraying Dettol has been suggested as a means of killing the toad then you have to look for the dead toad. The flies come for miles. 5. We are managing the environmental impact of the toads by collecting them each evening and recording the amounts we catch. We have noticed an increase in the