Category Archives: Cane toad

Laptop and iphone FeralScan views

FeralScan: web-based community reporting, education and extension tool for landholders and community

Lead researcher: Peter West, NSW Department of Primary Industries, peter.west@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Many current government databases lack detailed community information. This project builds capacity among communities to record data and information for local- scale management, as well as contributes information to complement landscape level knowledge value-adding to current initiatives to report on pest species and their impacts at regional, state and national scales.

This project established a community web-based reporting (and two-way communication tool) specifically for landholders, community groups, schools, indigenous groups and non-government agencies for recording information on a range of pest animals and their impacts throughout Australia. This is coupled with a broad range of education and extension material to support best-practice pest animal management.

FeralScan website:  www.feralscan.org.au

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Reference type Project
Author Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP)
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2012
Institution NSW Department of Primary Industries, Invasive Animals CRC
Region Australia - national
Documents

Download project report: FeralScan: web-based community reporting, education and extension tool for landholders and community [ 4.1Mb PDF ]

Links
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Feral Photos 2014

These images are a selection of entries from the Invasive Animals CRC’s 2014 Feral Photos photography competition. The annual competition is designed to help improve levels of awareness among members of the community, who have observed the presence of pest animals in their environment. The photos illustrate the significant diversity of pests we have in Australia and entries were received from across each State & Territory.

WARNING: Some people may find some of the following images confronting or distressing.

Click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

See the website www.invasiveanimals.com/feral-photos for more information.

Reference type Image
Stage1graphic

National mapping of the abundance of established, new and emerging pest animals to improve decision-making and the assessment of government investment programs: Part 1 – PEST ANIMALS

Lead researcher: Peter West, NSW Department of Primary Industries, peter.west@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Baseline information on the distribution and damage caused by pest animals is required to allocate resources to where they are most required and at strategic times. Data on the damage caused by pest animals is rarely available across broad landscapes and management agencies (and landholders) are largely reliant on information about the occurrence and numeric abundance of pests to guide management decisions and resourcing of on-ground pest control. Information on the extent and abundance of pest animals is also used to evaluate the effectiveness of policies, programs and decision-making.

This project aimed to directly address the need for improved information on significant pest animal species at the national-level through 4 objectives:

  1. To implement nationally endorsed monitoring protocols (at a finer-scale) to collect, collate and report information for established, new and emerging pest animal species throughout Australia (to complement existing national-scale datasets and information products).
  1. To develop improved Australia-wide datasets for national priority pest animals for monitoring, evaluation, reporting and program improvement (MERI).
  1. To centralise datasets for all species and produce consistent information products for all relevant regional, state/territory and national levels
  1. To deliver information products to relevant agencies, land managers and the community via government data libraries, portals, and stakeholder websites.

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Secondary title APARP Report
Reference type Report
Author Peter West
Year 2011
Publisher NSW Department of Primary Industries
Pages 63
Region Australia - national
Documents

Download full report: National mapping of the abundance of established, new and emerging pest animals to improve decision-making and the assessment of government investment programs STAGE 1: PEST ANIMALS [ 3.5 Mb PDF ]

CaneToadID

Identifying a cane toad

Adult cane toads are usually very large – around 9-15 cm (or 3.5 to 5 inches) long. If you find one over 4 cm long, you should be able to identify it from the picture below.

However, smaller toads can easily be confused with native frogs. To make sure you don’t kill a native frog by mistake, please take all toads under 4 cm long to a frog expert for identification. If handling them, use rubber gloves.

Information from the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage. Includes comparison pictures and sound recordings between cane toads and native frogs.

Author NSW Government
Year 2011
Department Department of Environment and Heritage
Region NSW
Links

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/IdentifyingACaneToad.htm

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Introduction of the cane toad to Australia

The introduction of cane toads (Bufo marinus) to Australia in the 1930s is one of the foremost examples of an exotic animal release gone wrong. Originally imported from Hawaii and released in Queensland as a biological control for beetle pests of sugar cane, the cane toad is now a well-established pest itself. Cane toads currently range across Queensland, the Northern Territory and into New South Wales and Western Australia. Despite being less widespread than foxes or rabbits, community
surveys consistently rank the toad as our most hated invasive animal1 and it is listed as a key threatening species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Today, most people know the cane toad was deliberately released as a biological control, but may not be familiar with the
events that led to their release.

A historical case study of the events surrounding the release of Australia’s most hated invasive animal and the lessons learned. Produced by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre as part of the PestSmart series.

Documents

PestSmart Case Study: Introduction of the cane toad to Australia

Links

PestSmart Toolkit: cane toad page

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: CTCS1
Region Australia - national
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PestSmart Factsheet: Cane toad

The cane toad is native to Central and South America and is a member of the ‘true toads’ (family Bufonidae). Cane toads have dry, yellow-brown, warty skin and large distinctive lumps (known as parotoid glands) behind the head. Cane toads naturally generate potent toxins (bufodienolides) throughout their bodies, which act by stopping the heart of most animals that attempt to eat them. These toxins concentrate in glands on the toad’s skin, and may be exuded as a milky-white substance if the toad is aggravated or distressed.

Cane toads are relatively long lived and can survive for over 15 years. The average body length of an adult cane toad is 10–15 cm and captive ones can grow up to 2 kg in weight. Cane toads are hardy animals that are able to survive  temperatures ranging from 5–37°C2. They are active mostly at night, and tend to shelter under leaf litter, rubble or scraps of iron during the day.

Fact sheet describing the biology, ecology and impacts of the cane toad in Australia. Produced by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre as part of the PestSmart series.

Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Cane toad

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: CTFS1
Region Australia - national
Links

PestSmart Toolkit: cane toad page

Will the community accept our science? Monitoring the community’s view about managing pest animals in Australia

The Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre Community Awareness Survey (CAS) has pioneered a new technique in opinion research called ‘Reading the Public Mind’ (RtPM). For a comparatively low cost, this technique has provided a ‘moving picture’ that charts the changes in public attitudes to invasive animals and their control through time and helps explain the reasons behind them. It identifies the drivers of public opinion, thereby increasing the scope for better science communication, for education where public understanding might be faulty and for improved research planning based on knowledge of what the public will and will not accept.

CAS has produced remarkably consistent results over the nearly three years that it operated, providing the first Australia-wide picture of public attitudes and beliefs regarding invasive animals and ways of controlling them.

Author Fisher NI, Lee AJ and Cribb JHJ
Year 2012
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Department Detection and Prevention Program
Pages 59 pp
ISBN/ISSN Web ISBN: 978-1-921777-42-4
Region Australia - national
Documents Will the community accept our science? Monitoring the community’s view about managing pest animals in Australia

Assessing the potential impact of invasive cane toads on a commercial freshwater fishery in tropical Australia

Context: The toxins produced by cane toads (Rhinella marina) are fatal to many Australian predators that ingest these invasive anurans. To date, the potential economic impact of the cane toad invasion has attracted little attention. Toads have recently arrived at a large impoundment (Lake Argyle) in north-eastern Western Australia, that supports a commercial fishery for silver cobbler (shovel-nosed catfish, Arius midgleyi), raising concern that the toads may inflict significant economic damage by killing fish.

Aims: Our research aimed to clarify the vulnerability of silver cobblers to the eggs and larvae of cane toads by determining (a) whether catfish are adversely affected if they prey on toad eggs or tadpoles, and (b) whether surviving catfish learn to avoid cane toad eggs and tadpoles in subsequent encounters.

Methods: We conducted laboratory feeding trials to examine feeding responses of catfish to cane toad eggs and tadpoles in early and late developmental stages. Fish that survived exposure to toad eggs and/or tadpoles were re-tested with potential prey of the same sizes and developmental stages four days later.

Key results: Our laboratory trials confirmed that some catfish eat toad eggs and die; but most catfish avoided the eggs. Catfish readily consumed toad tadpoles at both early and late developmental stages, but without experiencing mortality; and soon learned not to consume this toxic new prey type.

Conclusions and implications: Despite potential frequent episodes of mortality of small numbers of catfish during the wet season, the overall impacts of cane toads on the Lake Argyle fishery likely will be minimal.

Links http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR11026
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Author Ruchira Somaweera, Michael R. Crossland and Richard Shine
Year 2011
Volume 38
Number 5
Pages 380-385
ISBN/ISSN DOI: 10.1071/WR11026
Region WA

Modelling the distribution of vertebrate pests in New South Wales under climate change

This project, funded by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre on behalf of the New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, develops and applies tools to model the distribution and abundance of vertebrate pest species in relation to climatic and biophysical variables. Such models are needed to predict how the distribution of pest species may vary under a changing climate. We assembled a priority list of vertebrate pests affecting biodiversity in New South Wales (NSW) based on reported threats to species, populations and ecological communities. Feral goats, feral cats, red foxes, European rabbits, and feral pigs are the most common recorded threats to ‘endangered’ or ‘vulnerable’ terrestrial species in NSW, affecting 84.5% of threatened species listed.

This report covers these species—as well as cane toads, Indian mynas, starlings, wild dogs and wild deer. It uses quantitative and, where necessary, qualitative species distribution models to predict the distribution and abundance of these species using land manager desk-top surveys undertaken in 2004. Using the 2004 data, the species distribution models generally predicted the ranges of each species extremely well, but performed poorly in identifying areas where animals were considered to be at a high density. This may have resulted in part from data issues, including the effect of having multiple ‘observers’ and the scale of the analyses (5 km x 5 km grids).

These models were then used to predict the distribution and abundance of these pests under 2050 climate forecasts. Climate scenarios for 2050 were generated from four global circulation models (GCMs)—CSIRO, MIROC, ECHO and ECHAM—that performed reasonably well in modelling current Australian climate. As expected under a warmer climate, cane toads, which have tropical origins, are predicted to expand their range considerably (fourfold). Predictions varied more for species with temperate origins. Rabbits are predicted to generally decline in distribution and abundance. Foxes are predicted to increase in density in some areas and decrease in others, with their overall distribution changing little. Feral cats are predicted to have a slight decrease in abundance, but to maintain a similar range.

Author Peter Caley, Philip Tennant and Greg Hood
Date 02/06/2011
Year 2011
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Pages 66 pp
Region NSW
Documents

Modelling the distribution of vertebrate pests in New South Wales under climate change (3.1 Mb PDF)

Biological control of the cane toad in Australia: a review

The marine toad Bufo marinus is native to northern South America, parts of Central America and Southern Texas. It was deliberately introduced into Australia’s tropical north-east in 1935 in an unsuccessful attempt to control the cane beetle, a damaging insect pest of sugarcane crops. The toads quickly established in the new environment and began to spread. Today, they inhabit most of the Australian tropics and sub-tropics and have reached Western Australia. Models predict that global warming will enable the toads to extend their range further south. They cause severe environmental impacts, as all life stages of B. marinus contain bufadienolides, alkaloid substances toxic to vertebrates, resulting in death of the predators ingesting it. The continental scale of this biological invasion in combination with the remoteness of the areas affected, poses a specific set of challenges to potential control approaches for cane toads. This review covers different biocontrol strategies pursued over the past 8 years, with particular focus on an immunological approach aiming at the disruption of toad metamorphosis. So far, research efforts have failed to produce a tool for large-scale reduction of toad populations. Considerations of future research priorities and efforts are also discussed.

Secondary title Animal Conservation
Author T. Shanmuganathan, J. Pallister, S. Doody, H. McCallum, T. Robinson, A. Sheppard, C. Hardy, D. Halliday, D. Venables, R. Voysey, T. Strive, L. Hinds and A. Hyatt
Year 2010
Volume 13
Number S1
Institution CSIRO
Pages 16-23
ISBN/ISSN DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00319.x
Control method Biological Control
Region Australia - national
Links http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00319.x

Risk Assessments (DAFWA) for exotic reptiles and amphibians introduced to Australia – Cane toad (Bufo marinus)

Models for assessing the risk that exotic vertebrates could establish in Australia have been developed for mammals, birds (Bomford 2003; Bomford 2006, 2008), reptiles and amphibians (Bomford 2006, 2008; Bomford et al. 2005). These Risk Assessment models have been further explored by DAFWA to confirm that they reasonably predict public safety, establishment and pest risks across a full range of exotic species and risk levels.

This document describes a risk assessment conducted ONLY for the purposes of the report, for the Cane toad (Bufo marinus), assigned a DAFWA Threat Category of EXTREME, and an ‘Alternative Threat Category of EXTREME.

These categories and assignments have not been endorsed by the VPC.

Reptiles and amphibians were assessed for the risk they pose if introduced to Australia, by calculating DAFWA and Alternative Threat Categories. Assignment of DAFWA Threat Categories incorporated establishing populations in the wild and risk of causing public harm, and was based on the structure of the Australian Bird and Mammal Model, existing VPC conventions for assignment of threat categories and the precautionary approach. We also considered adverse impact factors and predicted effects on Australian native species and primary production to assign ‘Alternative Threat Categories’.

Author Amanda Page, Win Kirkpatrick and Marion Massam
Date 07/07/2008
Year 2010
Publisher Government of Western Australia
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Department Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Pages 24 pp
Notes DAFWA Threat Categories
Region Australia - national
Documents Risk Assessments (DAFWA) for exotic reptiles and amphibians introduced to Australia – Cane toad (Bufo marinus)
Links http://www.pestsmart.org.au/assessment-and-prioritisation-of-risk-for-forty-exotic-animal-species/

Into Oblivion? The disappearing native mammals of northern Australia

A new wave of extinctions is now threatening Australian mammals, this time in northern Australia, according to a group of leading Australian scientists.

Since European settlement, the deepest loss of Australian biodiversity has been the spate of extinctions of endemic mammals. Historically, these losses occurred mostly in inland and in temperate parts of the country, and largely between 1890 and 1950. A new wave of extinctions is now threatening Australian mammals, this time in northern Australia. Many mammal species are in sharp decline across the north, even in extensive natural areas managed primarily for conservation. The main evidence of this decline comes consistently from two contrasting sources: robust scientific monitoring programs and more broad-scale Indigenous knowledge. The main drivers of the mammal decline in northern Australia include inappropriate fire regimes (too much fire) and predation by feral cats. Cane Toads are also implicated, particularly to the recent catastrophic decline of the Northern Quoll. Furthermore, some impacts are
due to vegetation changes associated with the pastoral industry. Disease could also be a factor, but to date there is little evidence for or against it.

Based on current trends, many native mammals will become extinct in northern Australia in the next 10-20 years, and even the largest and most iconic national parks in northern Australia will lose native mammal species. This problem needs to be solved. The fi rst step towards a solution is to recognise the problem, and this publication seeks to alert the Australian community and decision makers to this urgent issue. Targeted management of known threats, based on the evidence currently available, is urgently required to ensure the survival of northern Australian mammal species. In part, the answer lies in more rigour and accountability in the management of conservation reserves; but it also lies in seeking to identify and deliver more conservation outcomes from all other lands. In the shorter-term, there is also a need to strengthen the safeguards on islands off northern Australia, as a temporary refuge for ‘at risk’ species until a more comprehensive solution can be reached on the mainland.

Author James Fitzsimons, Sarah Legge, Barry Traill, John Woinarski
Year 2010
Place published Melbourne
Publisher The Nature Conservancy
Pages 20 pp
ISBN/ISSN ISBN: 978-0-646-53821-1
Region NT
Documents Into Oblivion? The disappearing native mammals of northern Australia
Links http://wildaustralia.org/science/oblivion-disappearing-mammals-northern-australia

Assessment and prioritisation of risk for forty exotic animal species

This report documents work commissioned by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre to validate and refine risk assessment models used nationally in decisions to import and manage introduced vertebrate species. The intent of the project was to:

  • increase predictive accuracy, scientific validation and adoption of risk assessment models for the import and keeping of exotic vertebrates
  • reduce the risk of new vertebrate pests establishing introduced populations in Australia.

Risk assessments conducted for 40 species
The Bomford models in Risk Assessment Models for Establishment of Exotic Vertebrates in Australian and New Zealand (Bomford 2008) were explored for their ability to reasonably predict, across a wide range of species and risk levels, risks of potential pest establishment (in the wild) and adverse impacts. Risk assessments were conducted for Australia for 40 introduced vertebrate species.

Author Marion Massam, Win Kirkpatrick and Amanda Page
Secondary Author Wendy Henderson
Year 2010
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia
Pages 12 pp (Exec Summary) / 116 pp (full rept)
ISBN/ISSN Web ISBN 978-0-9806716-8-1
Documents
Links http://www.pestsmart.org.au/pest-species/new-emerging/risk/testing-the-bomford-models/

Cane Toad National Maps 2006/07

This series of maps shows the occurrence, abundance and distribution of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in Australia, 2006/07. Originally published in: West, P. (2008). Assessing Invasive Animals in Australia 2008. National Land & Water Resources Audit and Invasive Animals CRC, Canberra. (See web link below to access full report).

  • Map 1: Occurrence
  • Map 2: Distribution
  • Map 3: Abundance
  • Map 4: Occurrence, Abundance & Distribution
  • Map 5: Trend in Abundance
  • Map 6: Data quality

Click on thumbnail image below to open full map file.

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Date null
Year 2007
Secondary title cane_toad_NatMap_Occ07.jpg; cane_toad_NatMap_Dist07.jpg; cane_toad_NatMap_Abund07.jpg; cane_toad_NatMap_OAD07.jpg; cane_toad_NatMap_Trend07.jpg; cane_toad_NatMap_DataQual07.jpg
Edition jpg
Place published Image Location
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Notes Notes
Region Australia - national
Links http://www.pestsmart.org.au/assessing-invasive-animals-in-australia-2008

Cane toad density 2007 – Western Australian

Map shows the density of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in Western Australia, 2007. Compiled by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, in collaboration with the Australian, State and Territory governments.

Click on the thumbnail image below to open the full map file.

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2007
Secondary title canetoad_density_wa07.jpg
Edition jpg
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Region WA

Cane toad density 2007 – Victoria

Map shows the density of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in Victoria, 2007. Compiled by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, in collaboration with the Australian, State and Territory governments.

Click on the thumbnail image below to open the full map file

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2007
Secondary title canetoad_density_vic07.jpg
Edition jpg
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Region VIC

Cane Toad density 2007 – Tasmania

Map shows the density of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in Tasmania, 2007. Compiled by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, in collaboration with the Australian, State and Territory governments.

Click on the thumbnail image below to open the full map file

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2007
Secondary title canetoad_density_tas07.jpg
Edition jpg
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Region TAS

Cane toad density 2007 – South Australia

Map shows the density of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in South Australia, 2007. Compiled by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, in collaboration with the Australian, State and Territory governments.

Click on the thumbnail image below to open the full map file.

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2007
Secondary title canetoad_density_sa07.jpg
Edition jpg
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Region SA

Cane toad density 2007 – Queensland

Map shows the density of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in Queensland, 2007. Compiled by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, in collaboration with the Australian, State and Territory governments.

Click on thumbnail image below to open full map file.

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2007
Secondary title canetoad_density_qld07.jpg
Edition jpg
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Region QLD

Cane toad density 2007 – Northern Territory

Map shows the density of cane toads (Bufo marinus) in the Northern Territory, 2007. Compiled by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, in collaboration with the Australian, State and Territory governments.

Click on the thumbnail image below to open the full map file.

Reference type Image
Author IA CRC & NLWRA
Secondary Author Peter West
Year 2007
Secondary title canetoad_density_nt07.jpg
Edition jpg
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Region NT