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Toad busters hit snags

Elise Van AkenThe Kimberley Echo
Just some of hundreds of toad legs that would be turned into sausages.
Camera IconJust some of hundreds of toad legs that would be turned into sausages.

In the Kimberley we muster cattle, pop stars and now cane toads, with the region’s Parks and Wildlife Service road tripping across the east for a new round up of the pest.

The team from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions with the Dambimangari Rangers, Bunuba Rangers and Rangelands staff travelled to Fitzroy Crossing, Warmun, Wyndham and Kununurra last week for the Kimberley Cane Toad Muster.

The team travelled to Fitzroy Crossing, Warmun, Wyndham and Kununurra for the Kimberley Cane Toad Muster.
Camera IconThe team travelled to Fitzroy Crossing, Warmun, Wyndham and Kununurra for the Kimberley Cane Toad Muster.

The effort not only got hundreds of toads off country but the meat from the toads’ legs will be used to make sausages that will help protect native wildlife like the northern quoll.

DBCA cane toad project officer Dian Fogarty said the project aimed to collect enough cane toads to make sausage baits to save targetted populations of northern quolls.

“Cane toads are very adaptable so its impossible to pick up every single one in the Kimberley,” she said.

“The northern quoll populations are really at risk and we’re looking for places that have a lot of them that are worth protecting.

“We will try and get some of those breeding populations to still exist after the cane toad front line goes through, so they can repopulate those areas after the front line has passed.”

The team from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions with the Dambimangari Rangers, Bunuba Rangers and Rangelands staff with toads they captured between Wyndham and Kununurra.
Camera IconThe team from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions with the Dambimangari Rangers, Bunuba Rangers and Rangelands staff with toads they captured between Wyndham and Kununurra.

The toad front line has travelled about half way west across the region, through the Mitchell Plateau and down to Fitzroy Crossing.

Despite the invasion proving unstoppable, Ms Fogarty said the public should still be proactive in catching any toads they see.

“We asked the public to help us by bringing live cane toads to us, where we humanely kill them using carbon dioxide gas,” she said.

“Once they’re dead we chop them up and take the skin off their back legs and use that meat to make sausages, which will be used for the condition taste aversion program.

“We definitely still encourage people to pick up as many toads as they can, every one helps because that’s one less cane toad in the environment that an animal might eat and die from.

“This condition taste aversion project helps them learn not to eat them so in the end we’re not going to be able to get every single one but we can teach those animals how to co-exist with them.”

Cane Toad sausages being produced at DBCA's bait factory in Perth.
Camera IconCane Toad sausages being produced at DBCA's bait factory in Perth.

She said the team were grateful for the community support during the muster, with local children, police and youth program co-ordinators joining their fight against the poisonous pests.

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