Pest find triggers toad hunt

TWO cane toads found in Grafton and South Grafton are likely 'hitch-hikers' and do not indicate the presence of a breeding population in the area says a Local Land Services spokesman.

Grafton residents Jim and Angela Clark discovered the body of a toad in a bucket of water in the backyard of their Turf St home on Thursday.

The couple immediately informed Local Land Services of their discovery.

"We found the toad in a bucket of water near the fence line," Mr Clark said. "It had got into the bucket and drowned."

Land Services officer Nigel Blake spoke to the Clarks and searched the neighbourhood on Thursday night but he did not uncover any more of the destructive pests.

"It seems this was a one-off," Mr Blake said.

"It was one-year-old male. As we couldn't find any more nearby, we think it must have hitch-hiked into the area.

"Cane toads are notorious for hitch-hiking down from Queensland in garden mulch, camping equipment, flower pots and the like."

Mr Blake said a two-year-old male found recently in South Grafton was also a lone toad.

He said cane toads are spreading further south but control programs were slowing their approach to Grafton.

"There's been an outlier colony in the Maclean, Yamba, Sandon region for the past 20 years," he said.

"There's been a concerted campaign by a small, dedicated group of people in CVCIA (Clarence Valley Conservation in Action), Landcare and National Parks and Wildlife to keep a lid on toad numbers.

"Last year they collected 20,000 toads and the previous year 18,000. It's pleasing to see those efforts are having an effect.

"It's not stopping the spread, but it's certainly slowing it."

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