Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent
Clarence Valley residents are being encouraged to hop into action this month to help prevent a devastating pest from spreading further across the region by participating in the Great Cane Toad Bust 2023.
An annual national incentive, the event aims to raise awareness of the invasive species, to help control their numbers, educate communities to correctly identify them, and to ensure any cane toads captured during hunts are humanely euthanised.
From January 23-29, property owners and people in residential areas are being invited to organise local cane toad hunts with their families and friends.
Clarence Landcare Educational Officer Kelly McRae said cane toads have been sighted in new areas of the Clarence Valley during the summer, and the significant flooding which occurred throughout Northern NSW within the last 12 months has distributed them across different locations.
“There only needs to be one female, which carries thousands of eggs, in a new area for there to be a population explosion,” she said.
“We received reports of cane toads in Tucabia just before Christmas last year, and there have also been reported sightings in the Coaldale and Stockyard Creek areas on properties with large bodies of water.
“It’s always alarming when new populations are discovered.
“With consistent efforts and by actively participating in cane toad hunts, we can limit their numbers and help protect the environment and our native wildlife.”
Ms McRae confirmed Clarence Landcare is taking part in the Great Cane Toad Bust 2023, and she is encouraging other Clarence Valley residents to get involved too.
Since cane toads were introduced into Australia over 80 years ago in an attempt to control the native grey-backed cane beetles which were destroying sugarcane crops, their numbers have increased dramatically.
The first reports of cane toads in the Clarence Valley were documented in 2003 when they were discovered in Yamba.
During the Great Cane Toad Bust 2023, two local hunts have been organised in Yamba and Brooms Head on January 27.
Anyone interested in attending is invited to bring a torch and a pair of gloves with them and meet at the southern end of the Yamba Golf and Country Club carpark, and in the Brooms Head Bowling Club carpark at 7:30pm.
Sturdy footwear must be worn. Attendance can be registered by phoning 0419 941 118.
For further information, including how to set up your own hunts and register the number of cane toads you catch, please visit www.watergum.org/greatcanetoadbust
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 18 January 2023.