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
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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Dr Freeland Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 156 one trophic level (Freeland 1993)(Attachment 4). We know nothing of the treatment of the animals prior to their introduction to the islands. The translocation was conducted with the best of motives and intentions and undertaken by highly professional and dedicated people. It was however totally lacking in public accountability and transparency. Over the past 20 years the Northern Territory made a major contribution to cane toad management and research in Australia. That commitment was greater than that of any other affected State/Territory. If referenced to budgetary capability, the Territory's effort compares favourably with the Commonwealth's input. The Territory should be proud of its efforts. THE STATE OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE CANE TOAD Freeland (1984) quoted 200 published papers on the biology/ecology of the cane toad, and this did not include all papers written on cane toads. In 2002 van Dam et al., quoted an additional 52 works on cane toads published since 1984. Their paper was focused on Kakadu and cane toad impacts and did not quote numerous other publications e.g. pathology, parasites etc. In total there would be somewhere over 300 publications dealing in some substantive manner with cane toad biology/ ecology. This number of publications is greater than that for any other terrestrial free-living animal species in the Northern Territory other than perhaps rabbits, horses, cattle, dogs (including dingoes) and the red kangaroo. There are detailed accounts of the cane toad's rate of spread. potential Australian range; environmental physiology; toxicology; reproductive biology; breeding behaviour; life cycle; growth movement patterns; pathology; parasitology; food habits, foraging behaviour., activity patterns, survivorship; population biology, long term population trends; habitat use by larval, metamorph, juvenile and adult stages; niche relationships with native Australian frogs; successful and unsuccessful predators-, and as good as if not better understanding of its impacts on the native fauna than we have for any other introduced animal or plant. Although the nature and extent of our understanding in each of the above areas is variable, it is correct to say that we know more about the cane toad that we know about any of the Northern Territory's threatened species, or even any our native faunal species other than perhaps the red kangaroo (and dingo if we include knowledge of wolves and dogs). The issue is how much additional information and hence research do we need for which purpose and what is the priority of that research? As a conservation manager I assume that the purpose must be for the management/control of cane toad populations. The answer to which kinds of research are appropriate to this end depends on: the types of options available for management/control of cane toad populations., what kinds of research are possible and what kinds of understanding would they provide; and how would these kinds of understanding help us deal with the issue? PROPOSALS FOR CANE TOAD MANAGEMENT/CONTROL Management of cane toads has two components. One is dealing with public attitudes and understanding of the cane toad and its potential impacts, the other development/application of measures to limit spread or control populations.
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