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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Parks & Wildlife Commission NT Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 20 Dr LAWSON: Thats yours. Dr WOINARSKI: Weve, over the last decade or so developed a very systematic way of counting terrestrial wildlife in the Territory and weve got probably five to ten thousand hectare quadrats spread across the Top End in which weve censused, over a three night period basically all the wildlife, the vertebrate wildlife that occurs in those and thats extraordinarily detailed and comprehensive baseline from which we can monitor any change thats occurred or that occurs henceforth. And weve used that system Kakadu in that report thats just gave where we, two years ago we sampled I think it was 110 odd quadrants in exactly that same way in the bottom of Kakadu and almost or a bit over half of those were invaded by cane toads in the six months after wed sampled them and then we went back last year and re-sampled them all again both the ones that were impacted by toads and the ones that hadnt and that gave us a very clear picture of basically what the changes in the fauna had been. Its a very powerful way of doing it, from that basically it was evident that the quoll was by far the most affected of that group of animals that we could sample. So thats a terrific amount of information that weve got for pretty well all the vertebrate fauna that lives on the land, however we havent done similar stuff for the aquatic fauna so the fish, the aquatic goannas and we havent got anywhere near the same, almost no information about the invertebrates. So thats basically the work that Parks and Wildlifes done which can be used to assess quite precisely the effect of toads and we Mr BALDWIN: Are we going to get those quadrats down Borroloola way? Dr WOINARSKI: They were a bit shy in the Gulf country but we got some, yeah. Mr BALDWIN: So, were, theyve obviously got some pre and post data thats sort of three years now since cane toads or whatever compared to the Kakadu ones which are Dr WOINARSKI: Yeah the best stuff for that part of the world and thats not entirely Borroloola but theres a good study by CSIRO on the Roper River area which was published, in 1999 and that used the same sort of approach. And that basically was, I cant remember, about 150 odd species and there are only three which seemed to show serious cane toad effects, the dingo, one dragon lizard and one frog I think. Basically that was the first evidence from the Territory that fauna on the whole arent going to be hugely affected by cane toads. As well as the work that weve done, theres work currently underway in Kakadu which is looking at radio tracking quolls and thats shown very much the same results that weve got: that quolls are can't handle the toads. And theres also