The Impact Of Cane Toads On The Australian Environment

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Cane toads are an invasive species in Australia with a range of significant impacts on the Australian environment. They were introduced to Australia from Hawaii during 1935, and their population has since grown to approximately 200million, despite multiple attempts at controlling the growth. They primarily inhabit Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory. Adult cane toads are usually heavy-built and weigh an average of 1.8kg, with warty skin (, 2015). They pose a risk to many large predators that are poisoned when they try to eat their highly toxic bodies (Shine, 2014).
Why has it become a problem?
Exactly 101 cane toads were brought into northern Queensland from Hawaii in 1935 as farmers were concerned about crop damage
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They’re also tolerant of a broad range of environmental and climatic conditions, making them able to occupy many habitats.
There are concerns that cane toads are the key factor in the decline of many native species. They endanger native frogs by consuming far more prey than them, approximately 200 food items per night, causing native frogs to need to compete for their food. They also possess highly toxic chemical predator defences which can kill many native predators, such as snakes and lizards that attempt to consume them (The biological effects, including lethal toxic ingestion, caused by Cane Toads).
Due to these effects on the environment, a solution to the cane toad issue is urgent. People in areas that are inhabited by the toads are urged to take action. They can help control the issue by toad-proofing their dams or ponds, learning how to properly identify cane toad eggs and remove them, keeping pet food and scraps out of the reach of cane toads, and planting native gardens rather than short mown lawns because toads prefer short grass. There are also toad muster groups that travel around catching and killing the toads (Byron Shire Council).
How can science
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They have social impacts, such as their endangerment of people and domesticated pets that are unaware of the risk they pose, and the blocking of drains and fouling of swimming pools. They also pose a health hazard as they are known to feed on human faeces, which means that they can acquire human diseases, such as Salmonella, and pass them on through their eggs. They impact the economy by placing a significant strain on the financial resources of land managers because of the ongoing need for research and management. Due to the decline in bush tucker species because of cane toad consumption, such as monitor lizards, snakes and turtles can affect Aboriginal communities culturally and economically. Lastly, there are ethical issues relating to the methods of collecting, euthanasia and disposing of the toads. An example of this is that freezing was one the principle method of killing but has since been ruled as inhumane (Robert Taylor, 2012) .
How does the future look?
Without a solution, the cane toad invasion will become an extremely serious issue. They will continue to spread throughout Australia, causing more significant impacts on the environment, which will make it much harder to eradicate the issue over time.
Personally, I believe in order to wipe out the toads, we need to conduct more scientific studies. The issue will also need a lot more attention from the Australian government as they will
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