A new position has been created to better co-ordinate the State’s campaign against cane toads.
Environment and Climate Change Minister David Templeman today said that as part of the State Cane Toad Initiative, a program co-ordinator position had now been established in Kununurra.
The position was created in consultation with community groups to promote co-operation and a co-ordinated approach among the various stakeholders involved in cane toad control operations.
The Department of Environment and Conservation had immediately filled the position with local Kununurra staff member Errol Kruger in an acting capacity and would advertise the position locally and nationally this month.
The co-ordinator would provide executive support to a stakeholder working group, as well as act as a liaison point between Government and local volunteer groups on cane toad management issues.
The stakeholder working group would provide a co-ordinated approach to cane toad management across the region, as well as provide advice to Government on mitigating the impact of cane toads.
Since December 2004, the State Government had committed more than $12million to the State Cane Toad Initiative. This included almost $1million a year for a Government control program and more than $1.2million for community action.
Mr Templeman said community volunteers, along with the State’s own cane toad team, had worked hard over the past four years to stop toads getting to Western Australia. But despite these efforts, toads were likely to cross the border within the next 12 months.
A report commissioned by Dr Tony Peacock from the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre found the only real chance of halting the march lay in the discovery of a biological weapon.
“That’s why the State Government has also provided $850,000 to the cane toad genome research proposal by Professor Grant Morahan from the WA Institute for Medical Research,” the Minister said.
“This is an exciting project and we hope it will lead to an all-important biological weapon that will kill the cane toads without harming other native animals.”
The Minister said other key actions in the cane toad battle in the past 12 months included control operations at major breeding sites in the Northern Territory, developing strategies to identify species at high risk from the introduction of these noxious animals and the identification of sites of significant ecological and environmental importance.
The Kimberley Islands Biological Survey, which was currently under way, would identify fauna sanctuary sites to protect priority wildlife from cane toads.
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