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 Mr Bashciera Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 61 consumed or poisoned by billions of toads and tadpoles? Are the Frilled Neck Lizards and Northern Quolls at risk of becoming extinct? The Cane Toad is poisonous at all stages of life. If a dog or cat bites a toad the poison enters the animals system rapidly through the membranes of the mouth. Depending on the degree of poisoning the effects can be seen almost immediately and in some recorded cases, death has occurred within 15 minutes. Are our children at risk? Is there a long-term contact effect? How many of our native predators will disappear? Will singing cicadas be replaced by the drone of the toad? Due to the Toad being labelled a pest as distinct to a menace both Territory and Federal Governments have ceased all funding into the research of the Cane Toad impact and in the search for a control. There is also the argument that wildlife will regenerate behind the Cane Toad swarms. Research methodology on the impact of the toad in the NT in this area has been limited. Research that has been conducted on its impact does not in my view as a professional researcher stand up to close scrutiny. The research methodology did not take into account all of the variables. There are such significant flaws that its result, in my opinion, - that wildlife will regenerate, could be based more on assumption than hard comprehensive evidence. Never the less it has led to the NT Government adopting a cost free Cane Toad Acceptance strategy. If the concerns about a multiple breeding rate prove true (indicators and professional opinions are pointing in this direction) then there will be very little wildlife to regenerate and this is an extremely high risk gamble. We need a comprehensive research program not a gamble. In fact we need to ask a lot more questions. For example given the high toxicity of cane toad tadpoles what really happened to the Barramundi Fisheries of Queensland? What will happen to our fish stocks here? Could this potentially be an environmental/ economic disaster of an unprecedented scale? Unchecked will the cane toad destroy the pristine values of our natural heritage and seriously damage the eco-tourism investment we hold in trust for future generation? Uranium mining is not the greatest threat to Kakadu, - we can manage uranium mining. To date we have not managed the toad, it will manage us. Are the pristine values of Kakadu about to become history? The fact that research has yet to provide an answer to the cane toad problem is no argument for doing nothing, is it an argument to find a solution? THE CANE TOADS MOST EFFECTIVE DEFENCE IS NOT ITS POISON. In fact it is you. You are the best defence the cane toad has. When humans are faced with two opposing views we tend to distort reality to either avoid one view or at least make it acceptable, bearable and comfortable. It is a human reaction that psychologists define as Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger 57). In the case of the cane toad the two opposing views are: 1. That the Cane Toad is an environmentally destructive, poisonous, bio pollutant 2. Because we cant manage it we have to live with it.