Cane Toads are native to South America but were introduced into Australia in 1935 as a means of controlling the beetles attacking the sugarcane crop. However, the cane toads have become a huge pest for Australia due to their prolific procreation. They are blamed for the decline of several native species as the cane toads are highly toxic to any animal that tries to eat them.
Slowly, the cane toads have been working their way across the country leaving a path of destruction in their wake. The Federal Government has declared the cane toad a pest and, as there is no safe way to exterminate them, has called for a policy of containment (ie, stop the westerly migration if at all possible).
With that in mind, the Mayor of Darwin in the Northern Territory has come up with a brilliant plan to mange the cane toad problem in his constituency. He has suggested that some tour organizers set up “toad-killing safaris” to lure tourists and back packers to the Territory to help “terminate” the cane toads.
Northern Territory News reports that Mayor Saywer believes that there are plenty of “whack-happy” tourists who would only be too happy to do some “toad busting” while experiencing the beautiful native landscape. “It’s a pretty amazing experience out there … seeing these places at night, crocs in the water, there’s a sense of adventure and adds to people’s sense of achievement,” he said.
There has been great debate for years now on the best method of disposing of the dreaded cane toad from the “whack-happy” to some more humane approaches, Nine News reports,
Some people, such as Federal MP David Tollner, have proposed killing toads with golf clubs and cricket bats. However, there are also people like Lindsay Wilkinson from the RSPCA, who recommends cane toads be put down by rubbing them with haemorrhoid cream. Apparently this anaesthetises the animals and induces a painless death.
But where does public opinion actually lie?
Many people have taken to David Tollner’s suggestions and actively hunt the pests, armed with bats and clubs. Others opt for the catch and freeze approach. Disappointingly for the RSPCA, however, few Territorians seem keen to give toads a good rub down with haemorrhoid cream. To add insult, many have said they are willing to make a limited compromise by diligently applying the cream to the ends of their golf clubs.
I know a few crazy Cajuns that might be interested in a “whack-happy” holiday. But, sadly, as the cane toad is toxic, there won’t be any fried frog legs for dinner.
Maybe Tourism Australia is missing the boat on their new ad campaign. Perhaps that should be promoting Cane Toad Bashing Safari’s to get the tourist flocking to Australia.
If you prefer a more humane approach, The Great Toad Muster takes place every year and has become quite popular with backpackers and tourists alike. They have had some moderate success capturing and humanely disposing of the toads along the NT / WA border.