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 Dr Mahony Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 169 SUBMISSION NO. 23 Dr Michael Mahony, University of Newcastle, New South Wales firstname.lastname@example.org 29 May 2003 Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Dear Committee I am a biologist at the University of Newcastle NSW. In the early 1990s I proposed a bio-control method for Cane Toads to the CSIRO Cane Toad control committee. At that time they were heavily committed to finding a disease to control toads. The approach I proposed is rather unique and I consider has as many chances of success as the other methods proposed then and currently under investigation. I am critically aware that there is not likely to be one silver bullet that will solve the problem of the cane toad and I am not about to claim that the approach I put forward is guaranteed to work. There is considerable research to be completed, but I believe it has possibilities. I have attached a user-friendly outline of the concept. If you would like more details I would be happy to provide them. Sincerely Dr Michael Mahony CONTROL OF CANE TOADS BY THE STERILE MALE APPROACH Background The release of Sterile Males to control populations is one approach that has proven to be successful in a small number of cases involving insects. The concept is based on the principle that any control method must be specific to the organism that is targeted. A feature that is specific to any organism is that males and females mate only with members of their own species. If there is a means by which the majority of males can be rendered sterile then most matings will fail to produce offspring. This method has been most effectively applied to insects (e.g. screw worm fly, mosquitoes). The general approach is to swamp a population with sterile males so that the eggs of females will not be effectively fertilised. This method works most effectively in organisms that are not highly mobile, where reproduction is restricted to one copulation, where reproductive potential is high, and the life cycle relatively short. The method has not been applied to vertebrate pests because they often do not meet these criteria. However, the Cane Toad meets some of these criteria. It has a high reproductive potential, copulation, as far
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