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; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Delia Lawrie
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ERISS Kakadu Report 2002 Written Submissions Cane Toad Inquiry Report Volume 2 46 The species of most concern, and therefore a priority for monitoring, include quoll, sandstone antechinus, red-cheeked dunnart, brush-tailed phascogale, dingo, all of the varanid 1izards, northern death adder, king brown snake, western brown snake, ghost bat, black-necked stork, comb-crested jacana, Oenpelli python and freshwater crocodile. These are based on their rating, notability or listing as vulnerable, and also importance to Aboriginal people. Given that many species assigned to risk category 3 were done so due to a lack of information about effects of cane toads, it is possible that further information could result in the re-prioritisation of some species. Although risks to prey species are unknown, beetles, termites and ants should be considered for inclusion in monitoring programs. Monitoring the possible effects of competition between cane toads and native aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates should be given high priority, particularly in escarpment/plateau pools where endemic species are known to exist. Similarly, monitoring for competitive effects between adult cane toads and insectivorous reptiles should also have high priority. Priorities for addressing information gaps A number of information gaps require addressing before more confident estimates of risks can be derived. Monitoring programs assessing the effects of cane toads upon Kakadu species will al lot,.. greater understanding of the risks. There is a need for appropriate baseline data, not just for cane toads but to monitor and assess other management issues that will arise in the future (e.g. other invasive species, fire and tourism). In addition, surveys should be conducted to identify, and map the distribution of the endemic species of Kakadu, particularly in the escarpment and sandstone regions. All survey and/or monitoring programs should concurrently measure cane toad abundances and habitat preferences. Other information gaps that could be addressed but are less of a priority, include the effects of fire on cane toads and the lack of information for particular species or species groups (e.g. freshwater turtles, red goshawk). Evaluation of past and present monitoring programs As it may be several years before all of Kakadu is occupied by cane toads (eg some escarpment/plateau habitats), it is possible that some new monitoring programs may have sufficient time to accumulate pre-cane toad (i.e. baseline) data. It is highly unlikely that new monitoring,, programs will have time to provide similar data for many floodplain and lowland habitats. Data from major past and present monitoring programs within Kakadu may provide an alternative, noting that they were developed with objectives other than cane toad impacts in mind. Broad scale surveys The two major fauna surveys of the last 20 years provided information on abundances, distribution and habitat preferences of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians in a range of habitats similar to those identified in this report. The information from these surveys is not appropriate to use as current baseline. However, the established sites provide the opportunity for re-sampling before cane toads arrive. Not all habitat types were included in these surveys.