Joint effort to stop march of the toad

No more cane... concerned Balcatta Veterinary Hospital veterinarians Tony Leeflang and Ramesh K. Sivacolundhu. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d420709
No more cane... concerned Balcatta Veterinary Hospital veterinarians Tony Leeflang and Ramesh K. Sivacolundhu. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d420709

Balcatta Veterinary Hospital, Diagnostic Veterinary Imaging, Perth Veterinary Anaesthesia and Perth Veterinary Specialists have come together to support the efforts of Stop The Toad Foundation (STTF) in combating the introduced cane toad.

Ramesh K. Sivacolundhu, from Balcatta Veterinary Hospital, said Australia was slowly losing the battle to protect native wildlife against the species.

‘We have lost thousands of native goannas, snakes, quolls and freshwater crocodiles to the toads,’ Dr Sivacolundhu said.

‘Our focus has turned to protecting our biodiversity while supporting research to find a sustainable solution.’

The pests have spread across vast regions of Northern Australia since they were released in to Queensland in 1935, reaching the West Australian border in February 2009 and are now 350km into the Kimberley.

Kim Hands, STTF chairwoman and recipient of the 2012 Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year award, said the organisation was lucky to receive public support.

‘The toads at the invasion front are becoming bigger, faster and more voracious with time,’ Ms Hands said.

‘Climate change is set to facilitate their southward invasion, potentially to Perth in the long term. Project Kimberley has been completely funded by philanthropists who want to help protect the area.’

Department of Parks and Wildlife officer Teagan Johnston said the cane toad was extremely invasive and posed serious risks to Western Australia’s native animals after seven live toads were found in a freight truck from Kununurra.

‘There were male and female toads hidden within the plants and if they had escaped from the truck and found a water source, it is possible they may have begun breeding,’ Ms Johnston said.

The toads will be killed later this week.