Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    Another cane toad found in Perth

    2/07/2005 12:00 AM

    Another cane toad has been found in Perth.

    Environment Minister Judy Edwards said the dead cane toad was detected by a truck driver on the floor, in the front left hand corner of a refrigerated container of bananas from Queensland.

    “The container was being unloaded at a freight distribution centre at Kewdale,” Dr Edwards said.

    “Quarantine officers have confirmed there was no likelihood of a live animal escape and all pallets of bananas were visually inspected underneath.

    “The officers will also be making contact with banana exporters in Queensland, advising them to check all pallets and containers before loading.

    “The transport company and banana buyer have elected to re-export the container out of Western Australia today by road transport.”

    Last month, two cane toads - one dead and one alive - were found in a freight container of bananas at the Canning Vale Markets.

    Dr Edwards said the State Government remained committed to keeping one of the world’s most invasive species out of Western Australia.

    “WA is the only State to have actively begun control and monitoring operations ahead of cane toads crossing the border,” she said.

    “The Cane Toad Initiative focuses on five main components - advance trapping, quarantine and control, biodiversity asset protection, public awareness and education, and State-wide co-ordination.

    “For example, Department of Conservation and Land Management and Department of Agriculture officers recently met staff from the Northern Territory’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment (Parks and Wildlife) to discuss a joint approach at attempts to control the westward spread of the cane toad.

    “The meeting identified that the main ‘front’ of toads was still at the Victoria River Bridge about 90km east of Timber Creek.

    “There have also been confirmed populations at Coolibah Station, downstream of the Victoria River Bridge and a population, possibly isolated, about 60km north of the river in the Bradshaw Field Training Area.”

    The Bradshaw population is behind the current cane toad distribution line as included in the Government’s June 2005 Cane Toad Initiative Update.

    Dr Edwards said the meeting also reached agreement on a strategy to strengthen the fight against the toads.

    “WA’s trapping efforts will focus on keeping toads east of the Victoria River,” she said.

    “This will include eradicating the population west of the river in the vicinity of the Victoria River Bridge, including areas within Gregory National Park.

    “Trapping work is also being undertaken jointly with the Northern Territory in other areas to demonstrate the effectiveness of proposed eradication techniques.

    “Northern Territory traditional owners are being consulted to gain approval for operations on their lands, including, where appropriate the use of fire to allow for more effective trapping.”

    As a continuation of work that began earlier this year, staff from CALM will continue to liaise with agencies and other stakeholders in the Northern Territory, including indigenous communities and pastoral stations and continue to document the location of the toads in relation to the Victoria River.

    The area being covered by the team is the size of Tasmania (about 65,000sq.km).

    CALM has bought in new cane toad traps for the program, including 20 of the latest ‘supertraps’ from NT Frogwatch, which are arriving this weekend and will be deployed next week. A further 20 supertraps have been ordered and are being constructed along with 30 field traps.

    Other types of traps are being developed and will be ordered in the near future.

    While it is too cold at night in many areas for traps to be successful at the moment, traps are being placed in the field in anticipation of warmer weather and significant nocturnal toad movements.

    Other activities under way including investigations into marine cargo quarantine, particularly barge traffic from the Northern Territory to locations in WA.

    Dr Edwards praised the efforts of staff of NT Parks and Wildlife.

    “Their involvement and co-operation with the WA cane toad program and the assistance they have given to the joint approach being adopted by both the Northern Territory and WA Governments has been tremendous,” she said.

    “The WA Government is providing substantial funding toward the cane toad program.

    “To date, we have committed $1.5million and it is vitally important that all agencies and the broader community, importantly inclusive of indigenous people, all work together to address this issue.”

    The Minister has approached the Commonwealth to match the State’s $1.5million.

    Minister's office: 9222 5050