Kiss of death for toads

By ADRIAN MILLER

CANE TOADS are spreading throughout Australia at a seemingly unstoppable rate, but at Yamba tonight the community has a chance to slow the creature's progress.

The seventh annual cane toad round-up is being held at the Yamba Golf and Country Club, where participants will gather to catch toads for not only prizes ? the environment features as well.

Run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Department of Lands and the Angourie Coast Care Group, the evening is a chance for families and people of all ages to do their bit for control of the pest.

And just for the record, golf clubs and cricket bats are not welcome.

Angourie Coast Care Group project co-ordinator John Webber yesterday called for volunteers.

"If you're looking for something to do tonight, be sure to come along," he said.

"It's a great awareness-raising activity and the kids will have a ball."

He said numerous prizes would be awarded, including recognition for the biggest and ugliest toads caught.

Last year's round-up netted nearly 1500 toads.

NPWS pest management officer Jeff Thomas said the toads were not hard to catch.

"They're fairly slow-moving and they are generally found out in open areas of the park, so they are quite easy to catch," he said.

He said the round-up first began in 1999 around Angourie, to stop the toads spreading into the Yuraygir National Park.

Mr Thomas said that since the first round-up, the community had managed to reduce the cane toad population in and around Angourie by nearly 90 per cent.

Cane toads were introduced into Australia in 1935 to control the cane beetle. With no natural predators they have spread right through Queens- land, into NSW. They have spread as far as the Kakadu National Park. The toads are especially dangerous to pets and predators because of poison glands.

Tonight, registration begins at 6.30pm, with a free sausage sizzle, before the round-up starts at dusk.

Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, covered footwear and torches.



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