Scientists get funds to fight toad scourge

By NATALIE PEUTnataliep@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE Queensland Government is pushing to control the spread of cane toads in Queensland, with a commitment of $1 million over two years to research.

Local Toadbusters organiser Anna Hitchcock said this was wonderful news, and she welcomed any research to reduce cane toad numbers.

Scientists from University Queensland will work on developing bait that kills cane toads without hurting other native animals.

Ms Hitchcock said she was glad the resesarchers were focusing on a poison which would be specific to cane toads, and not harm other animals.

She said the other concern was disposal of dead cane toads. "Although the toads are dead, they are still poisonous.''

Ms Hitchcock said with the recent rainfall, Gladstone would see an increase in the number of toads around.

"Some sort of detection would help reduce the amount, and will be much safer for residents and their pets,''she said. "With the extended warmer weather, the cane toad's breeding season was also extended and there will be more around at the end of the year.

She said the toads tended to congregate around water for breeding, and were usually found under-ground, in water meter boxes and in pipes. "It is really hard to estimate the number of toads here in Gladstone at the moment.



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