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 NLC Caring for Country Unit Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 65 Bush potatoes and chestnuts, things we dig for in the ground, they are not healthy too. The cane toads also get in the pipes. Sewerage drains are always blocked. In the future, everything will be gone from those cane toads. Another concern has been about the possibility of dogs being poisoned from eating the toads, but the only reports 1 have heard have been that some dogs become glassy eyed from licking the toads. Some women have also expressed concern that their young children may be poisoned from touching cane toads, so this is also worrying them. CULTURAL, SOCIOECONOMIC AND OTHER FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ENCROACHMENT OF CANE TOADS In the words of the Ngukurr Women Rangers: People hardly go out hunting. They eat less bush meat and are depending on the shop for meat. We fish in the river for healthy fish but fish in the billabongs is unhealthy. We don't go and fish there anymore, but also rubbish is polluting those billabongs. Lillypods don't grow the normal (large) size anymore. Toads and other ferals are polluting the water. There is less food to hunt and people are having to purchase more food from the shop, but their incomes have not increased with the arrival of the cane toad. As a consequence Aboriginal people may be obtaining less protein and experiencing reduced nutrition in their diet. If the people are not going hunting as often they may have reduced their activity and their exercise. Boredom and less time spent doing rewarding social activity (such as hunting) can have negative social consequences. If people cannot provide for their families they feel unfulfilled. Hunting is also a way of passing skills and knowledge on to young people. With the reduced desire to go hunting, the opportunity for teaching is also lost. Aboriginal people's spiritual connections with their land and animals contribute to their sense of well-being. Their identity is through their connection to their land and the animals that live on it. As the animals disappear they experience strong feelings of loss. Aboriginal people also feel powerless to control the cane toad. They feel very sad seeing the effect it has on their land and animals. Such a feeling can contribute to depression. These are just some of the negative social consequences that result from the cane toad's presence. CURRENT UNDERSTANDING AND ASSESSING NEEDS FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMS In the words of the Ngukurr Women Rangers:
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