It’s a bust for Northern Rivers Cane Toads

The number of cane toads in NSW Northern Rivers boomed after the catastrophic bushfires of 2019, which led the local Landcare group to apply for a Landcare Bushfire grant to reduce their numbers.

The $160,000 grant awarded to Clarence Landcare is part of a grant program managed by Landcare Australia and the National Landcare Network, delivered in partnership with State and Territory Landcare organisations, to help environments and communities rebuild after the 2019 bushfires. 

Cane toad numbers grew because the bushfires stripped the undergrowth opening pathways for pest species to move in quickly. Added to this was the high rainfall experienced earlier this year and the number of cane toads and other invasive species took off drastically impacting the survival of native species like goannas, snakes, insects, turtles, and small carnivorous marsupials. 

Alongside environmental group, Watergum, Clarence Landcare created a program to educate the community about the harm caused by the cane toad, how to identify them and how to capture them.  All these activities lead up to the Great Cane Toad Bust, a national event that will be held in January. The Clarence community will join others to find and collect cane toads across the region, log their numbers so they can be collated and tracked online. The hope is this will bring out everyone’s competitive nature to remove as many cane toads as they can from the local ecosystem.

Cane Toad – Watergum

“This event builds on Watergum’s national cane toad control program, and it’s exciting to be partnering with them on a project with such a broad reach,” Kelly McRae from Clarence Landcare said. 

While it may be an unusual activity for those new to cane toad control, make no mistake, toad busting is a lot of fun. It’s a great opportunity to get out at night with your family and friends and search for the nocturnal native wildlife you are trying to protect. We’re looking forward to getting the community involved and giving our native species the best chance of recovery post fires,” said Kelly. 

The Australian Government funded $14 million Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants are supporting projects in regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019–20.