Edith Cowan University biology lecturer Rob Davis said modelling showed the south-west climate was ideal for cane toads, which have so far spread into the north of the State from the east.
‘The modelling shows that if they were able to get here, Perth and the south-west would be overrun,’ he said.
Dr Davis said the Pilbara climate was too extreme for cane toads to travel farther south in large numbers but the pest was able to ‘hitch’ lifts via caravans and trucks travelling into Perth.
The comments come after a cane toad was found in East Perth last week.
A dead cane toad was also found in Hope Valley last June, while in January last year a dead toad was found near Perth Airport and a live toad was found in Ballajura.
Two toads were found in Perth in 2012. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the most recent discovery highlighted the need for people to be aware of the pests.
‘This incident is an important reminder that while the scourge of cane toads is mainly a problem in the Kimberley, even people in Perth need to be aware of the invasive species,’ he said.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife is training Reggie, a springer spaniel, to sniff out cane toads during inspections of freight, to help stop their arrival.
‘The most likely way cane toads will reach the south-west is through being undetected on vehicles,’ Mr Albert said.
‘He (Reggie) will be used as a proactive quarantine measure and will be deployed mainly to inspect trucks in the Kimberley for hitchhiker cane toads.’
Reggie’s deployment is part of the State Government’s cane toad strategy for WA and he replaces the original detector dog Nifty who retired in 2011.
Dr Davis said cane toads had a significant ecological impact.