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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Written Submissions ERISS Kakadu Report 2002 Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 45 breeding habitats with cane toads, Although adult native frogs do not appear to compete with cane toads, the potential risk to native tadpoles represents a risk to native frog populations. Some of the smaller insectivorous reptile species of Kakadu may be at risk from competition for food resources by cane toads. but nothing more can be concluded. Cultural, socio-economic and other risks The major impacts on Aboriginal communities within Kakadu National Park will be a decline in some traditional foods and, in some situations, the alteration of ceremonies following declines of food and totem species. Aboriginal people elsewhere in the NT have accepted the presence of cane toads but still express concern regarding, the impacts. Aboriginal communities within Kakadu may also become accustomed to cane toads albeit most likely sharing the same concerns. Cane toads will congregate in areas of human habitation within Kakadu, and will be of nuisance value in these places, and will also represent a risk to domestic and semi-domestic dogs.' Tourism, the major economic activity of Kakadu, is not at risk from the presence of cane toads, and visitor numbers will not decrease as a result. With predicted high numbers in Kakadu, there may be an opportunity to harvest them for commercial benefit. Other potential effects of cane toads have been hypothesised, including the contamination of water supplies, secondary effects on vegetation communities, the spread of human diseases, and the substance abuse of cane toad toxin. Details of these potential effects and hence the risks posed by them are essentially unknown. Uncertainty and information gaps This assessment has highlighted that there are major information gaps contributing to a large degree of uncertainty about the potential extent and impacts of cane toads in Kakadu. These include: uncertainty about densities of cane toads in Kakadu, effects of fire and burning regimes, degree of land/habitat disturbance, and the extent to which the Arnhem Land escarpment and plateau will act as a barrier and/or be colonised; the lack of quantitative data on the impacts on animal populations, particularly in the Iong-term, quantitative data on Kakadu fauna populations and distributions as well as dietary information; incomplete knowledge of Kakadu's invertebrate fauna, many being undescribed and possibly endemic; unknown response and susceptibility of most Kakadu fish species; unknown competitive interactions with native frogs; unknown chemoreceptive response in snakes and their ability to detect cane toad toxins; conflicting and unclear information on freshwater turtles; insufficient information on conservation listed species; the lack of experimental or anecdotal evidence regarding effects on bats; and impacts to as yet unidentified endemic species. Recommendations for additional surveys and monitoring Priority habitats for monitoring Seven major habitat types were identified for future monitoring: floodplain communities; swamp communities; monsoon forest; riparian communities; woodland and open forest communities; springs, soaks and waterholes; and escarpment/plateau pools. Priority species for monitoring
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