21 June 2007
in pdf here (280 kb)
The Stop the Toad Foundation (STTF) has appointed
Mr. Russell Guého as interim CEO following the departure
of Campaign Manager Dennis Beros.
Mr. Guého, who is a current Foundation Board member based
in the Kimberley, was instrumental in bringing the cane toad issue
to public prominence. His early efforts encouraged the Kimberley
tourism industry in 2004 to recognise the serious threats that toad
infestation pose for industry and local communities.
“We’re sad to see Dennis go,” said Mr. Guého.
“But we’re proud that under his tenure the Foundation
has played a major role in alerting both the government and the
statewide community to the imminent threat of infestation. Dennis
has a young family and is committed to enjoying more quality time
with them in the future.”
The outcomes of STTF’s Great Toad Muster 2006, during which
more than 49,000 cane toads were removed from a key landscape over
a six week period, have demonstrated the effectiveness of a coordinated
approach to toad control.
“Dennis oversaw the pioneering removal of cane toad populations
at a landscape scale using a cost effective and integrated volunteer
strategy. Now is the time to consolidate and move forward in the
battle against the toad – there are a number of ongoing and
recent initiatives that are encouraging to all those involved in
the fight,” said Mr. Guého.
“In recent weeks there has been more news of the parasitic
lung worm that is impacting on toads; some exciting work has been
done on specific pheromones which can be used to force metamorph
toads to develop in a weakened state and a private company has developed
a spray application technique that kills toads literally in seconds.”
Much of this work has come about due to the efforts of community
groups alerting the community and operating on the ground at the
front line. “This is a perfect time to co-operate and promote
the strategies of all those involved in toad management activities,”
said Mr. Guého. “That includes government agencies
as well as volunteer groups. We’re in this together.”
Planning is currently underway to repeat the Great Toad Muster
between mid September and mid October 2007.
“It is imperative,” said Mr. Guého, “That
we have the opportunity to undertake this second Muster to build
on the effective work already done in 2006 and the lessons learnt
“Fiona Rafferty is also working with the Foundation in the
capacity of Sponsorship coordinator and she has some exciting arrangements
ready to role out in the near future which we are sure will attract
significant corporate and individual interest. The Foundation has
deductible gift recipient (DGR) status with the Australian Taxation
Office so we hope to attract significant Australian support in this
Further information is available here or call Russell Guého
0408 954 254 (Russell, who lives in Broome, is volunteering his
time in this interim period and is also a Board member of STTF who
has lived in the Kimberley for over 20 years)
Ministerial Review of Activities of Groups
working on Toad Control Activities
The Hon David Templeman, Minister for Climate Change, the Environment
and Peel has initiated a review of the activities of the Foundation,
Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and Kimberley Toad
Busters (KTB) – essentially STTF was asked to contribute suggested
terms of reference for the review process (DEC and KTB were also
asked and contributed).
It appears that the Invasive Species CRC will be conducting the
review. The Ministers office indicated that the process was expected
to be completed by end of June and reporting /Ministerial action
by end of July (we hope this can be achieved given the issues associated
with organisational logistics for the Muster).
STTF Regional Coordinator Graeme Sawyer working on the Toad
Barrier Fence – The trial fence now runs effectively from
the Kununurra – Katherine Highway end of the Gregory Tree
Road to the Victoria River and is producing some good outcomes
as a deflection barrier. Traps are spaced along both sides of
the fence and are monitored and maintained by the Women’s
Ranger Group at Timber Creek. DEC was a partner in this initiative
Cane Toads are still high on the Agenda
of the WA Government
The recent State Budget contains a couple of interesting points
from STTF and other volunteer group perspectives – In the
Significant Issues and Trends section immediately following the
DEC Mission statement the following statement is made “Continued
focus on Government and community efforts to stop cane toads expanding
their range from Northern Territory to Western Australia.”
This is followed shortly after in the Major Achievements section
1; Nature Conservation 2006-07 with the comment claiming “The
State Cane Toad Initiative continued to focus on keeping toads out
of Western Australia through field and awareness programs with community
STTF believe that with appropriate support from Government all
groups can have a significant impact on cane toad populations near
the frontline in the Northern Territory.
Existing (black) and Predicted (red)
distribution of Toads in Australia
Already toad populations are under environmental pressure in the
Northern Territory with cool drying conditions following a rather
under average ‘wet season’ in the Victoria River District.
These conditions provide added impetus to undertake the 2007 Great
Toad Muster and we are looking forward to receiving the results
of recent reconnaissance in the Auvergne Whirlwind Plains area.
Toad Seminar to be held at University of Western Australia
The Invasive Animals Co-Operative Research Centre would like to
invite you to a free public lecture, with presentations from Professor
Rick Shine of the University of Sydney, Professor Rob Capon of the
University of Queensland and Dr David Dall of Pestat Ltd.
Titled: ‘New tools for cane toad control? Recent
discoveries in pheromones and parasites,’ the presentation
will be made at the Woolnough
Lecture Theatre at UWA on June 25, 2007 from 4pm – 6pm.
(Please make every attempt to make it along – your support
will promote the aims of keeping Western Australia cane toad free
and send a strong message to those who need to hear it.)
Green Tree Frogs are just one species that is subject to impact
This seminar may provide information on a range of new tools to
be added to the cane toad control strategies of the Foundation,
including those mentioned above.
The Great Toad Muster 2007
14 September – 14 October (Tentative Dates TBC)
‘In now permitting the liberation of Bufo in the cane
areas of Queensland, we may be confident that no element of casualness
has been involved in the decision, but that every biological aspect
known to science has been carefully considered.’ Australian
Sugar Journal, 1936
In actual fact the cane toad introduction into Australia was unaccompanied
by relevant research and indeed has proven to be one of the most
significant biological blunders ever to be foistered upon Australia
The toad is now the most common vertebrate across much of Queensland
and the Northern Territory. As many as 5000 per hectare have been
recorded around waterholes and they have been allowed by complacency
and ineptitude to march their way through Kakadu and Arnhem Land
in the Northern Territory.
August 18, 2005 was a significant date in Australia’s history
as it marked two milestones. It was the day on which we “celebrated”
the 70th anniversary of the introduction of toads into Australia
by the Queensland sugar industry and perhaps more significantly,
the day Western Australians drew a significant ‘line in the
sand’ and said “We don’t want cane toads in our
What has developed over the past 18 months has begun to show that
in reality there is plenty that we can do to, if not stop toads
totally, then significantly impact on their populations and effects
on the landscape.
When people set their minds to having a crack at getting rid of
these pests they can have a huge impact on toad populations
Using different and innovative
fencing techniques are another opportunity for the future
protection of endangered species
Over a six week period during the late dry season 2006 over 49,000
cane toads were removed from the Timber Creek area (Northern Territory)
by over 100 volunteers associated with the Stop the Toad Foundation.
There were Vietnam veterans rubbing shoulders with boffins, grey
nomads, Kimberley residents, National Living treasures and backpackers
from all over the world with the one focused aim – remove
as many toads as possible.
Western Australia has done something unique. The people of this
state have decided to have a go at keeping our competitive advantages
secure and along the way ensure that our cultures, our social activities,
our environments and our economies will have a chance of being preserved
for future generations.
Plans are underway to repeat the Great
Toad Muster of 2006 with a follow up Great Toad Muster 2007.
At this stage the Muster will kick off in mid September and go through
to mid October. The Stop the Toad Foundation is looking for support
to help the event run smoothly and safely. If you think you have
skills in Communications, Catering, Logistics or Camp management
and would like to get back out into the bush for some adventure
then maybe you should contact the Foundation.
The job, of course, will long and hard. But there is an ingrained
attitude in Australia that we have never shirked challenges and
what the heck! Surely no one in this country has ever bagged anyone
for having a fair dinkum go.
For more information on how you can help or be involved in busting
- This site is being developed to give you plenty of information
on last years Muster and will be regularly updated with plans
- Alternatively you can call 1300 788 735 and a Foundation member
will return your contact or call Russell or Fiona for a chat.