The Sherwood Arboretum will once again host the annual Toad Bust, a key event in the Australian ecological calendar, aiming to tackle the growing problem of Cane Toads in the region.
This invasive species, the Rhinella marina, poses a serious threat to Australia’s native wildlife and ecosystems, making the Toad Bust not just an event, but a vital environmental mission.
The Sherwood Annual Toad Bust is scheduled for Saturday, 20 Jan 2024, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 87 Jolimont St.
The Sherwood Arboretum, part of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens collection, is a heritage-listed site officially opened on World Forestry Day in 1925. It spans 15 hectares and houses approximately 1100 trees from around 250 species, showcasing diverse botanical collections and a grand avenue of 72 kauri pines.
The Impact of Cane Toads
Cane Toads are known for devastatingly impacting Australian native wildlife, poisoning thousands of pets, and adversely affecting local agriculture. They have a lifespan of over 10 years in the wild, with a single female capable of producing up to 35,000 eggs per breeding cycle.
The Great Cane Toad Bust encourages community participation in tackling this environmental menace. People are urged to engage in toad busting, tadpole trapping, and humane euthanasia of the toads, contributing to the collective effort to control their population.
On the Ground: Toadbusters in Action
Simon Middap, a semi-retired IT engineer and enthusiastic “toadbuster” shares his experience of the overwhelming presence of Cane Toads on the Pacific Harbour golf estate in Queensland. He highlights the practical challenges they face, like the difficulty in finding a spot to place a golf ball due to the sheer number of toadlets.
Middap describes their catch-cry, “TTTT” (Terrorise toads every third Thursday), illustrating their consistent efforts in managing the toad population. This reflects the community’s commitment to environmental conservation.
Environmental and Scientific Perspectives
Due to recent weather patterns, Dr. Jodi Rowley, a frog biologist, emphasises the favourable breeding conditions for amphibians, including Cane Toads. She underscores the importance of local initiatives like toad busts in positively impacting local wildlife.
The introduction of Cane Toads in 1935 by Queensland’s sugar cane growers marks a critical point in Australia’s environmental history. Their intention to control beetle species affecting sugar cane crops backfired, leading to the widespread invasion of toads across the country.
The Sherwood Annual Toad Bust is more than an event; it’s proof of the power of community involvement in environmental conservation. With initiatives like this, Australians demonstrate their resilience and commitment to protecting their unique ecosystems and wildlife.