Cane toad hitchhikes to southwest WA

By AAP with AG Staff 4 February 2011
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For the first time, a cane toad has been found in the southwest corner of Western Australia.

A HITCHHIKER CANE TOAD has been discovered and killed in Western Australia’s southwest.

A contract worker found the male cane toad (Bufo marinus) on Monday evening near Collie, 213 km south of Perth. Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) wildlife officer Allan Madgwick said it was the first time a  cane toad has been found near Collie.

“We are conducting an extensive search of the area to locate any other possible cane toads,” he said in a statement. “We have also set up cane toad traps on the site and these will be checked daily over the next few weeks.”

Allan said DEC officers were also investigating how the cane toad could have arrived to the area. “It is possible that the cane toad may have been inadvertently transported here by a vehicle that has passed through a toad infested area either interstate or in northern Western Australia,” he said.

“Cane toads are very good at hiding in small spaces, so it’s important for people to remain vigilant and do thorough checks of their vehicles, caravans and camping equipment if they are heading over from areas where cane toads are known to live.”

Westward migration

In WA, cane toads can be found around Kununurra, in WA’s north, with breeding occurring in irrigation areas. The DEC says the toads are moving west and are expected to be in an area between Wyndham and Turkey Creek, in the Kimberley region, by the end of April.

People should not kill suspected cane toads until they had been positively identified in case the animal was actually a harmless native frog, Allan says.

Anyone who suspects they may have found a cane toad should isolate the live animal and report the sighting to the free cane toad hotline on 1800 084 881.