12 October 2009
RAMSAR Wetland Threat from Cane Toads
Over 1000 cane toads have been removed from the eastern shores
of the RAMSAR Treaty listed Lake Argyle in Western Australia’s
far north by the Stop the Toad Foundation in recent weeks.
Lake Argyle provides extensive wetland habitats for a number of
threatened migratory bird species and is home to an estimated 25000
freshwater crocodiles. Freshwater crocodiles have no resistance
to toad toxins and large numbers have been recorded dying when coming
into contact with Cane Toads. The RAMSAR Wetlands Treaty which Australia
signed in 1971 commits all signatories to protecting areas of international
biodiversity significance and reducing impacts caused as a result
of manmade activities(such as the introduction of toads).
‘It is likely that cane toads will directly compete for
food resources in the form of aquatic invertebrates, said Kim Hands
from STTF. Insects make up a significant component of crocodile
food and every toad we have removed and dissected has shown that
there will be major competition between crocodiles and toads.”
In 1971 over 100 countries met in the city of Ramsar in Iran and
made commitments to protect habitats around the world and identified
areas that have major wetlands and associated ecologies with the
aim of creating a network of linked protected areas that provide
refuge for the wildlife that exists at each and the migratory species
from other countries that use these wetlands.
During the Great Toad Muster over 23000 volunteer hours have resulted
in more than 42 000 cane toads being removed from an invasion frontline
stretching over 120 km along the WA/NT Border.
“Cane toads will impact on WA following this coming wet
season so it is imperative that all groups involved in the battle
work closely together to maintain the pressure and remove them in
big numbers, said Ms Hands. If we are forced to reduce our efforts
due to a lack of real resourcing then cane toads will reach Perth
in the next few years”, she said.
For comment: Kim Hands 0400 130 397