Wednesday 31 August 2016


Cane toads  were introduced to the north Queensland sugar cane area in the 1930s in the mistaken belief that they would eradicate the cane beetle.  Since then they have been steadily spreading south and west. To the west they have moved across the Queensland savanna into top end of  the Northern Territory ( including into Kakadu National Park) and  further west  into the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia. To the south they have moved as far as the northern coastal section of the Clarence Valley in the NSW Northern Rivers. There are large populations in and around Yamba and Brooms Head.

Cane toads (Rhinella marina) are poisonous through their life cycle. As these introduced pests advanced they brought devastation to native wildlife which sought to prey on them in the areas they have colonised.  Goannas, snakes, freshwater crocodiles, quolls and dingoes are some of the native species which have died as a result of the toad's poison.

Efforts to eradicate the cane toad have been under way in the Clarence Valley for a number of years.

A community group, Clarence Valley Conservation in Action (CVCIA) Landcare, has been collecting and disposing of cane toads in the Clarence.  The work of these volunteers has been assisted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, North Coast Local Land Services and local ecologist Russell Jago.

From July 2015 to May 2016 25,000 cane toads have been removed from the Clarence Valley.  71% of these came from Yamba, 17% from Brooms Head, 7 % from Chatsworth Island and 5% from other areas.  In addition 120,000 cane toad tadpoles have been trapped in the same period.  Trapping of tadpoles is a recent development and one it is hoped will cut toad numbers breeding in farm dams.

For further information on the cane toad in Australia refer to the  Australian Museum

Photo: Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Landcare