destructive cane toads pose little threat to west australian wildlife study
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Destructive cane toads pose little threat to West Australian wildlife: study

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Arab Today, arab today Destructive cane toads pose little threat to West Australian wildlife: study

cane toad at night.
Melbourne - XINHUA

A trial to examine how West Australia's native animals would cope with an impending cane toad invasion has been successful, scientists said.

The Western Australia (WA) Department of Parks and Wildlife introduced the invasive species to an island in the state's north to observe how the cane toad would impact WA's native wildlife.

Corrin Everitt from the department said camera traps set up across the 4,000 hectares of Adolphus Island showed the impact of the cane toads to be minor.

"Northern quolls are still present here ... given the toads have been present for a few years now, (that) is a pretty awesome result," Everitt told the ABC on Friday.

"So initially yes, there's probably an impact, but over a couple of years there seems to be a situation where native species are able to remain while toads are still here."

Everitt said experts once held hopes that cane toads would not be able to invade the islands strewn across the Kimberley region, leaving the islands to become refuges for native species under threat.

However, Kimberley ranger James Birch Gallagher said cane toads have been known to travel across bodies of water by floating on debris.

"My mates were fishing out here and said 'Hey there's cane toads going past on a log, floating past on a bloody log'," Gallagher told the ABC.

"The animals on the island here ... have got nowhere to go, they are sort of trapped, so I thought after a limited amount of time there would be nothing left - especially because the cane toads are so lethal to our native wildlife."

There are an estimated 2 billion cane toads in Australia and the species, which has no natural predators and is destructive to habitats, is moving West at a rate of 40 to 60 km per year.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne are working to develop a waterless barrier in WA to try and prevent the species, which is heavily reliant on plentiful water, from spreading to the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

"We are really making the most of this landscape feature where the Great Sandy Desert almost reaches the coast, so the cane toads really have to squeeze through this narrow bottleneck or choke point to reach the Pilbara and then continue spreading into WA," project leader Darren Southwell told the ABC.

Source : XINHUA

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