Record toadbusting season

ONE of the Gladstone region's most unwanted inhabitant has been given 'its marching orders'.

A record-breaking 8785 warty amphibians have been caught locally as part of the 2008-09 Toadbusting program which officially came to a close last Tuesday.

The capture of the cane toads will assist in returning local waterways to a more natural state, according to Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) volunteer engagement officer Pamela MacDonald.

McDonald said toadbusting has always been a big hit with families around Gladstone.

There were 236 people recorded as toadbusters in Gladstone, Ms MacDonald said.

“We average about 25 people most nights,” she said. “Our tireless toadbusting volunteers do a fantastic job.”

Organised by Conservation Volunteers Australia, and funded by Gladstone Regional Council, the Toadbusting program has been in operation locally since 2002.

The program was this season extended to 16 weeks, beginning in November last year.

Its main target sites include Reg Tanna Park and Beaumont Park in Gladstone, and occasionally other local waterways such as the Tondoon Botanic Gardens and Lions Park.

However, thanks to the ongoing support of council, the program was this season able to be expanded to include a site at Boyne-Tannum.

Ms MacDonald said a typical toadbusting evening involves teams of people catching toads and carefully putting them in a supplied bag to safely and humanely dispose of the poisonous toad.

She said captured toads were put into a freezer within an hour of capture where their natural inclination is to hibernate.

Once frozen, the toads are collected by Dr Scott Wilson from CQ University and checked for signs of mutation.

“One hour of quality family time exploring local wetlands makes a real difference to the environment,” Ms MacDonald said.

“Our native frogs thank the toadbusters' efforts.”

The next toadbusters season starts in October.

Toad facts
  • A record-breaking 8785 toads were captured in the 2008-09 toadbusting season
  • The 2007-08 season netted 4153 toads and 4931 in the 2006-07 season
  • 367 volunteers participated in the latest toadbusting season
  • The Toadbusting program began in 2002
  • Toads are considered a pest in Australia because they carry two large bulging poisonous glands on their shoulders
  • Native animals which normally feed on native frogs try to eat a toad and die because even grasping the toad in their mouth is enough to kill them
  • Because tadpoles develop faster than native frogs they compete with native frogs for food and territory.
  • Toads eat anything that can fit into their mouths including native fauna
  • Average-sized adult toads are 10-15cm long although they can grow much larger
  • They have no natural enemies in Australia and live up to 20 years
  • All stages of a toad's life is poisonous
  • A female toad lays up to 20,000 eggs per breeding season while native frogs lay about 1000 eggs

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