The discovery of two young cane toads has caught authorities on the hop. They have warned anyone finding a suspicious amphibian
The discovery of two young cane toads has caught authorities on the hop. They have warned anyone finding a suspicious amphibian

WANTED! CANE TOAD HUNT ON

By ANN-MARIEMAY

WHAT is suspected to have started out as an 'adventure' has ended in death for two dangerous individuals apprehended in the Toormina area last week.

Now authorities are on the hunt for any family members connected to the pair and locals are warned to stay on alert.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) yesterday confirmed two juvenile cane toads have been found in the Coffs Harbour area, prompting concern over potential breeding populations.

After their identity was confirmed, the unwanted visitors were euthanased.

NPWS senior ranger (pests), Tim Scanlon, said that no breeding populations of the species had been known to occur in Coffs Harbour.

"The fact that two juvenile cane toads have been found in Toormina is serious as it may indicate a breeding population in the area," he said.

As cane toads can be accidently travel in mulch, soil, pot plants, building material or through hitching a ride under caravans or other vehicles, individuals are sometimes found in the Coffs Harbour area.

For breeding populations to establish in a new location, both a female and male cane toad need to be present as males fertilise the eggs as they are laid by the female.

Mr Scanlon said cane toads posed a major threat to both native animals and domestic pets so it was important that cane toads were not allowed to establish in the Coffs Harbour area.

"Once established they can spread quickly. A female cane toad can deposit up to 30,000 eggs at a time, and may lay several times over the summer season," he said.

The two cane toads were found near the southern end of Hogbin Drive, Toormina. This area supports extensive potential habitat for the species, with open lawns, streetlights that can attract insects and large swampy areas nearby.

NPWS staff and a number of volunteers will be undertaking spotlight and callback surveys in the Toormina area during the next two weeks.

It is hoped that no further cane toads are located and that the two individuals found were 'hitchhikers' rather than part of an established population.

Local residents are asked to keep a lookout for cane toads and, if a suspected pest is found, notify NPWS immediately on 6652 0900.

Mr Scanlon said it was important that residents did not kill the toads without first properly identifying them as there were many important native frog species that looked similar to cane toads, however, if certain of its identity, NPWS asks residents to destroy them in a humane way ? no golf clubs.



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