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 WWF FROGS! Program Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 75 The Alberta Governments Norway Rat Exclusion in Alberta website states: Since 1950, the Province of Alberta, Canada, decided that the economic damage caused by populations of the introduced, verminous European rat (Rattus norvegicus) was unacceptable. This program has essentially kept the province rat-free. The success of this program means that the province has saved an estimated one billion dollars over 50 years in property damage, livestock losses, human suffering and health care costs, as well as contaminated and wasted food. Success is achieved by eliminating invading rats within a control zone 610 km long and 30 km wide along the eastern border of the province. A systematic detection and eradication system is used throughout the zone to keep rat infestations to a minimum. Strong public support and citizen participation was developed through public education and a sound awareness effort. Although rat infestations within the interior of the province are minor, a rat response plan is in place to deal with a large or difficult case. Government preparedness, legislation, climate, geography, effective rat baits and close co-operation between provincial and municipal governments have contributed to the programs success. The Government of Alberta currently spends $100,000 a year eradicating rats, with a thoroughness that probably saves Albertans something like $30 million a year in lost grain, spoiled food, damaged buildings, tattered clothing, killed poultry, stolen eggs and short-term extermination costs. Similar economic benefits can be expected from removing and excluding cane toads from the Northern Territory. Existing Applicable Techniques and Methodologies Contemporary techniques and methodologies for amphibian fauna atlassing, populations monitoring, field capture, handling and killing are comprehensively discussed and explained in Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity: Standard Methods for Amphibians, edited by Heyer et al. (1994) Smithsonian Press. In many respects, however, the environmental conditions that we will be confronted with in the Northern Territory will require innovations and adaptations to conventional protocols for field studies developed elsewhere in the world. Applied Science and Eradication Program Methodology All of our actions are directed towards the relentless, progressive killing of cane toads and the driving of their populations to total extirpation within the Northern Territory. The following steps can begin as soon as funds are made available, and will all proceed more or less concurrently: 1. Delineate, with accuracy, precision and high resolution, the distribution and density of cane toads. Determine their precise locations within the range and the outer perimeter of their distribution throughout the Top End of the Northern Territory a. create a toll-free telephone number for people to report sightings of cane toads. When plotted, these will be coded as unverified reports. b. build a network of volunteer observers composed largely of rural-based environmental, governmental and outdoors professionals and semiprofessionals whose travel and fieldwork create unique opportunities to report cane toad sightings from remoter areas within the target region.
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