Frontline efforts to prevent the cane toad invasion across
the Kimberley have failed and there are no methods available
to stop the toxic creatures, a review has found.
The Department of Parks of Wildlife review into the West
Australian government's cane toad strategy said several
proposals to fight the pest had been investigated but were
found not viable.
The state government has so far spent $7.8 million trying to
combat the pesky amphibians over the past five years.
The proposals included the use of parasitic lungworms to slow
or reduce toad populations, fencing to exclude them from
critical habitat and creating additional checkpoints to
minimise satellite populations.
The review, released on Thursday, also revealed the
government's growing concern to protect islands from the
toads - which can swim.
Possible mitigation strategies are being investigated for
priority islands, including the Adolphus Island in the east
Kimberley, such as the use of audio monitoring to detect the
arrival of toads.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the focus of the next
five years would be on managing the impact of cane toads on
native wildlife and preventing the establishment of new
satellite populations in the Kimberley.
"The recent discovery of a cane toad in East Perth was an
important reminder of why a state-wide cane toad strategy is
required, even though cane toads are currently confined to
the east Kimberley," Mr Jacob said.
The cane toad is listed by the World Conservation Union as
one of the world's worst 100 invasive alien species.
It was deliberately introduced into Australia in 1935 in an
attempt to control beetle populations in Queensland's sugar
But the plan failed because the toads could not reach the
beetles at the top of the cane and instead spread across
northern Australia, devastating native wildlife.
The toad's march has sped up over time, with the front now
moving at an average rate of 50 kilometres a year.
However, the species is known to "hitchhike" on freight
trucks and cars.
In February, the Department deployed a cane toad detector dog
to Kununurra to inspect high priority freight for hitchhiker