Handbook to help rangers manage cane toad advance

[May-June 2016]

The Cane Toad Management Handbook was launched this month, providing a comprehensive tool for rangers to manage the threat of cane toads as they advance through the Kimberley.

The book was produced as part of the Australian Government’s three-year Kimberley Cane Toad Clean Up programmed, delivered by Rangelands NRM.

The handbook was written by partners the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and Kimberley Toad Busters and collated by Rangelands NRM, to provide rangers with clear information about cane toad identification, handling, managing and monitoring.

Member for Durack, Melissa Price officially launched the book at Lotteries House on 13 May. Over 30 people attended the event including rangers from across the Kimberley as well as many community members.

“The Cane Toad Management Handbook will be a blueprint to help minimise cane toad numbers. It is initiatives like this, that will hopefully stop the southern part of WA ever coming face to face with a cane toad,” Ms Price said.

“The Rangers are doing an outstanding job in protecting and conserving our environment and the Handbook will be a very important tool to help the Rangers pay their part in stopping the cane toads.”

Ms Price said the Turnbull Government have committed $500,000 to the Kimberley Cane Toad Clean Up programme, which includes the Handbook.

“The funding also will go towards developing effective tools the community can use to reduce the impact of cane toads, with the Government also supporting community education activities to improve public awareness in the region.”

Parks and Wildlife's Cane Toad Strategy Program Leader Corrin Everitt said it was great to have all the resources relating to cane toad management in one place, including checklists and forms.

“It is always of benefit to collaborate with key stakeholders to develop resources that are going to provide accurate information on cane toads for a broad range of people," she said.

"Ranger groups in particular will play an important role in preparing remote communities ahead of the cane toad frontline, for the arrival of cane toads."

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Kimberley) Grey Mackay said native frogs can sometimes be mistaken for Cane Toads.

“This handbook provides clear images to identify toads by the M-shaped bony ridge above the eyes, dry warty skin and poison glands on their shoulders,” he said.

Cane toads are a key threat to cultural and environmental values in the region.

They are highly toxic to predators and are responsible for the rapid decline of many species such as the northern quoll. Additionally, they compete with smaller predators, such as native frogs and lizards, for food.

Cane Toads were introduced into Queensland in the 1930s to control beetles that were decimating sugar cane crops. In 2009 they spread into the Kimberley region of Western Australia, reaching Kununurra in 2010 and Halls Creek in 2014.

Image:
Member for Durack Melissa Price, views the Cane Toad Management Handbook with Rangelands NRM's Grey Mackay and Dept of Environment's Margot Sharp (Photo: Kandy Curran).