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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Call for comment on national cane toad plan

Media release

17 March 2010

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Minister for Environment Protection Peter Garrett today invited public comment on a new draft plan of action to tackle the cane toad menace.

The new plan, delivering on an election commitment, comes on top of a $2 million investment in cane toad management and research. The Threat abatement plan for the biological effects, including lethal toxic ingestion, caused by cane toads also builds on new research findings about the impact of the pests.

"This new draft plan will help coordinate efforts across the nation to manage the impacts of cane toads on key species and ecological communities which are most at risk," Mr Garrett said.

"As the significant work undertaken to date has shown, there are no easy solutions for dealing with the cane toad menace. This new plan acknowledges that and focuses on what we can do now to manage the impacts of cane toads particularly as the population spreads, while on-ground activity and research continues.

"Australia is home to some of the world's most unique and remarkable species and we need to get on with protecting them now if we are to save them from this pest.

"Recent research studies have shown that some native animal species can adapt to the presence of cane toads after an initial sharp decrease in their numbers.

"Therefore, the new approach being proposed in this plan is on protecting high priority native species at risk from cane toads. Once identified, such species and ecosystems will be targeted for local and regional action which offers communities a way to manage the impact of the pest on their local environment."

The draft plan:

"This new plan of action builds on existing commitments, including Government funding for scientists from the University of Sydney to help the northern quoll, an endangered native predator that is very sensitive to toad toxins, to learn to avoid eating toads," Mr Garrett said.

"The Government is also supporting another group of scientists from James Cook University to research ways to improve trapping of cane toads.

"The work they are doing on innovative trapping techniques - using special lighting and sounds, such as modified cane toad calls, offer the potential for local eradication which could be particularly important for some of our islands and other isolated areas."

Cane toads were brought to Queensland to control pest beetles in the 1930s. They continue to spread across the country's northern landscape impacting populations of native animal species, some of which are already at risk.

For more information on the draft plan, go to:

www.environment.gov.au/canetoads.

Commonwealth of Australia