It may be possible to stop the spread of can toads into new areas of Australia according to new research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
One of the lead authors of the study, James Cook University's Dr Ben Phillips, said that their work, which involved an international team of scientists, showed that artificial waterbodies installed by graziers acted as critical stepping-stones for the toad invasion.
"By removing these waterbodies in key locations it is possible to halt the spread of toads," he said.
Cane toads are currently spreading into the vast Kimberley region of north-western Australia and will likely completely occupy this region within ten years.
"This conquest has not gone unchallenged, but massive efforts by community groups over the past five years have done nothing to stop or even slow the invasion of toads," Dr Phillips said.
"The reason for this failure is that toads produce 10-30 thousand eggs at a time and can move very large distances, so removing enough individuals to slow their invasion is effectively an impossible task."
Dr Phillips said that "by removing around 100 artificial waterbodies, toads can be prevented from occupying 268,000 square kilometres of their potential range in Western Australia, which is an area larger than Great Britain".
Stopping the invasion of toads into Australia's Pilbara region would protect numerous species, including northern Quolls (an endangered cat-sized marsupial carnivore) and many species of goannas and snakes, which are badly affected when toads invade.
"While we have shown that it is possible to stop toads, actually doing so is going to require a lot of community support as well as serious financial compensation to any graziers that are affected by modifications to their stock watering systems," Dr Phillips said
"We have shown that stopping toads is possible, but the exact details of how to implement our plan are still to be worked out."
Cane toads, one of the world's worst invasive species, have proved difficult to stop. In Australia, where they were introduced in 1935, they have spread to occupy more than 1.3 million square kilometres and have had major impacts on many native species. Their spread continues across northern Australia at an accelerating rate.
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
But adding small amounts of land to already protected areas could help save the island's biodiversity
The disease which has killed more than 8,000 people in the past year may be the number one threat to great apes in Africa
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board is warning that "the probability of global catastrophe is very high" unless quick action is taken.
Gregory Asner has loaded a plane with lasers, spectrometers and computers to create models so detailed, they distinguish between and count plant species in even the densest biomes, like the Amazon.
The smallest critters who occupy the bottom of the cold, clear waters of Lake Tahoe are dying off at an alarming rate and scientists are trying to find the cause to protect the fragile ecosystem of the lake high in the Sierra Nevada range.
In Russia’s Far East, an orphaned female tiger is the test case in an experimental effort to save one of the most endangered animals on earth
But look out for hazel catkins turning plump with pollen Continue reading...
Senators accept global warming is not a hoax but fail to recognise human activity is to blame, nearly 27 years after scientists laid out man’s role
United States Senators stood up for what they believed in today—and it wasn’t pretty.
China is about to announce the findings of its latest giant panda “National Survey”, a once-a-decade census that aims to put a figure on the number of giant pandas left in the wild. Will the figure be accurate?