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Management - introduced species February 08, 2005 5:23 PM

The following is from a thread on the International Wildlife Rescue

it's about the case of the Cane Toad, a species that was introduced to Australia with devastating effects and was originally posted by Arlene L.

What To Do About This Sunday, 10:37 PM

As animal rights activists, I'm curious to know where everyone sits on this issue? What do you do when you care about all animals and yet you are faced with some as deadly as this who encroach in huge numbers. Is it our fault that they overpopulate in the first place? Do we kill them or fall victim to their poisons? I don't know? What do you think? It's a toughy!

Reward offered for best cane toad trap

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Authorities in northern Australia have launched a campaign to find the most successful way of slowing the devastating spread of cane toads.

The poisonous amphibians have become one of the country's most dangerous pests. Even fresh water crocodiles and dingos and are no match for them.

Other native fauna, including tiger snakes and kangaroos, have died after eating their poisonous skins.

Cane toads were introduced to help Australian farmers combat the spread of cane beetles in the mid 1930s. The experiment is widely considered to have been a complete disaster.

These days, there could be as many as 100 million cane toads in Australia.

In Australia's tropical north, the authorities are so desperate to stop the cane toads that they're offering a $16,000 reward for the most effective way to arrest their relentless advance.

Andrew Arthur, a 45-year-old Northern Territory musician-inventor, believes his toad blaster is the answer to this environmental crisis.

He's created a battery-powered loud speaker system, which plays the call of the male toad.

Arthur says it has the potential to be a "march of death" for the amphibians as it lures other toads into traps.

the very bad (?) Toad Monday, 4:03 AM
Introducing a species, in most case, is never a good idea.  The introduced species end up in an environment where it has no natural predator with such disastrous results as those with the Cane Toad.

I guess, there is not much choice but to repair the damage.  The very costly one would be to trap them and move them back where they were originally from hoping that their natural predators can do the rest.  Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen.  Then there is to kill them...... it does make sense when we consider the whole environment.  It is not mainly for "killing" the toads that the action is taken but to "protect" others (others being here indigeneous animal species). (pretty much the same thing as death row in the human world).
The irony is that often, even when we have to kill them, the animals find a clever way to avoid the trap and many of them survive, doing more damage... driving us crazy about all that.... I guess it's their revenge.....

Well, that's my 2 cents and I found it to be quite an interesting question!


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 February 08, 2005 6:32 PM

I saw a video on these critters once.  Aside from stories of people killing them in all sorts of interesting ways, a little girl collected them as pets and dressed them up like her dollies.

Anyhoo...I guess the most humane way to deal with these animals is to come up with some way to halt their reproductive capabilities.  Even though I know "removing them immediately" is probably the best thing to do for the environment and the indigenous species, I personally couldn't take their lives.  Who are we to control them, when we can't even control our own population.  We are the worst invasive species....

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 February 08, 2005 7:52 PM

You're right about the process of infertilisation.... it's unfortunately so difficult to achieve that but it's a fact that any trap that would be good to kill them may be as good to trap and neuter them....

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I agree with February 09, 2005 8:27 PM

Patty, we are exterminating the other inhabitants in this planet.

And I agree also with Marianne,  traps are not good.

Many animals, including domestic ones, fall into those traps every year, and also it is too cruel. Very painful for the animals. I believe that it should be reconsidered the foreign species, and a better solution can be found. The main problem I see is the urbanization, deforestation, vehicles, etc .All this is terminating with the animal life ... Very sad...

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 February 09, 2005 8:37 PM

You are right Juliana, although, in the case of the Cane Toad, we have to consider the harm that this particular species does to indigenous species.  That makes it all a bit trickier.... a grey situation in which the mistake has already been done and for which, either way, species will be hurt....

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You are right... February 09, 2005 8:41 PM

this is a BIG problem... I just read your link...  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
cane toads - invasive alien plants group April 21, 2005 1:35 AM

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Freediver, April 21, 2005 7:38 AM

thanks for the link

The Cane Toads constitute a definite problems.. with no easy solutions. reminds me of the rabbits and myxomatose (well I think it's spelled right).. I've seen a wild rabbit affected with the disease once and I recall feeling it was a very cruel way of doing away with them... it was awful really....
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 November 05, 2005 12:28 PM

The cane toads need to go.  They do not belong in that sensitive ecosystem and are damaging it badly, when it is already been heavily taxed by our past mistakes of introduced species.  Unfortunately as is the case with the rabbits and the disease that has been used to try to rid them, solving a problem by introducing another problem is not usually an effective solution and can be cruel.  As sad as it is that we have to kill these animals for what is truly our mistake, that I believe is the best way.  Traps can be designed that are not only humane (as in quick death or live traps so that they can be quickly killed later) but selective to the species intended to be trapped (cane toads) are possible.  Amphibians aren't really known to be plausible cases for neutering due to their form of reproduction and I'm afraid chemical means to try to induce infertization would probably lead towards deformed and mutated toads (which amphibians as shown through many other studies are prone to as shown in the recent increase of defects in native populations).  Not to mention a dead cane toad left out in the environment is still dangerous as shown by information above in this thread of animals that have suffered for ingesting them.

Hopefully world-wide we are becoming more educated about the effects of introducing new species into the environment and in many places I know there are regulations to control this (inspection of shipped cargo for bugs for instance).  But we do need to be aggressive about removing non-native and invasive species from ecosystems they do not belong in and are damaging.

Now in the case of a species naturally moving into a new environment due to an empty niche they are able to fill (e.g. coyotes moving east in the absence of wolves) that is a whole other story and a natural process.

If there is a situation (which I have never heard of one) of a non-native species wreaking havoc however it is threatened or endangered in its own natural environment then I would say yes, live trap the invasive species and return it to its natural location to help its populations there.  But like I've said, I haven't heard of a situation where that was the case.  Normally these invasives are quite successful in their orginal locations but have other species that are able to take advantage of them or compete with them.

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 November 06, 2005 4:27 PM

I've started my own group on feral animals:


Also, there is a care2 group promoting the release of feral cats into the wild, which I think is wrong. Even PETA supports the killing of feral cats.

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 November 15, 2005 8:52 AM

I think the more important question to ask is what organisms plants or otherwise would be wiped out if the cane toad was not put under some sort of management? 

I don't think I could ethically allow another species to cease to exist, but management should also proceed ethically in controlling the exotic species (which means its up to the ethics of the person in charged of outlining a control program). 

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NIcholas November 22, 2005 8:14 PM

I think the cane toad wouldn't become extinct lest in that part of the world where it was wrongly introduced... I would go for it if it saved even one single native species from the brink of extinction without blinking.... that may sound rude but letting a species go extinct to save an alien one is a worse alternative to me
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 June 21, 2006 12:05 PM

I agree with Mariannie. Although it is not an ideal situation it does seem to be the best way to go about this. At least the toads have stable populations other places in the world. It is important that we get the original ecosystem back so the native species do not suffer anymore that they already have. We should learn something form this situation ...that we rarely benefit from introducing species to a new environment and it is not worth the risk to try it. 
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 April 11, 2007 9:44 PM

I know some groups doing research on frogs here in the U.S. and they tell me that if there is a problem in a population of frogs or toads it usually means the ecosystem is already unbalanced....I cannot seem to open the video link here but does it mention any possible poisons in or near the populated area?  just wondering.....  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Cane Toads continued a few years later... November 27, 2010 8:39 AM

Cane toads were introduced to and became seriously invasive in many places where sugar cane was cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics.  This includes not only Australia as posted above, but also Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, many other locations around the Caribbean, Hawaii, the Philippines, Florida, etc.  Bufo marianus caused the extinction of other species, especially in island ecosystems.  Where introduced they kill other species either though their voracious appetite (and they are big for a toad) or larger animals through the highly toxic excretions from their skin, whether wild or domestic.  They invade suburban and highly disturbed ecosystems, but will also invade relatively intact ecosystems as well.  They are essentially a form of biological, self replicating (reproducing) pollution.  They are slow and confident in their defense (skin) and so can be captured and destroyed by hand without poisons (mid theirs though, use protection).

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