The Cane Toad
A group of research, conservation and land management organisations trialling the largest Cane toad mitigation strategy to date...
Teaching native predators not to eat the highly toxic toads!
An innovative conservation strategy to buffer the devastating impact of Cane toads on native fauna.
A coalition of dedicated organisations.
Invasive Cane toads are heavily impacting Australian ecosystems by fatally poisoning thousands of top-order predators like quolls, goannas, snakes and crocodiles. Researchers at Macquarie University (previously at Sydney University) have discovered a way to reduce that impact by training predators before the main toad invasion front arrives. If a predator eats a small meal containing toad toxin (small toads or toad sausages) that makes it sick but doesn't kill it, it can remember that negative experience and won’t eat any more toads – of any size (like an experience with food poisoning). So, the predator will survive when the big toads arrive. This is called Conditioned Taste Aversion (CTA) and we have shown that it works in field trials on quolls, goannas and bluetongue lizards. It is our only hope of buffering the impact of cane toads on native predators.
In conjunction with Macquarie University, a coalition of research, conservation and land management organisations is attempting to train native predators not to eat Cane toads on a landscape scale ahead of the toad invasion in Northern Australia.
VIDEO: The Cane toad problem and Conditioned Taste Aversion (CTA) explained
(Source: Fairfax media and University of Sydney)
This project will run from early 2018 - 2021; click on boxes below to find out more.