Dairy farmer Allan Christensen said the toad would just be another problem farmers would have to deal with.
Dairy farmer Allan Christensen said the toad would just be another problem farmers would have to deal with.

Cane toad infestation feared

A GLADFIELD man has captured a cane toad near his dairy farm, sparking fears the poisonous pests could be moving closer to the Southern Downs region.

Allan Christensen said if the toads – scientific name Bufo marinus – were migrating to the region, it could spell disaster for local farmers.

Mr Christensen was driving near his property on the Clintonvale-Goomburra Road last week when he noticed the creature.

Though he wasn’t sure straight away, his wife and wife’s family immediately recognised the poison glands.

“We noticed him because he was standing kind of upright, the way cane toads tend to,” Mr Christensen said.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure it was a cane toad, but we have my wife’s parents staying with us and they knew it was a cane toad.

“We jumped on him and hit him, then put him in a bucket but the next day he was still alive. Freezing them is apparently the only way to do it.”

The cane toad was put in the freezer and was docile, though not dead, when Mr Christensen brought him into the Daily News headquarters.

Now the toad is in the hands of the Department of Primary Industries where it will be frozen and sent for examination and identification.

But Mr Christensen fears the impact on the region if the pests set up home here.

“We’ve had Buffalo flies for the last few years, which have been a real pest, now this. It’s just another pest for us to contend with,” he said.

“Buffalo flies suck blood from cattle and make them poorly, which affects their milk supply.”

He said he feared if there were more toads, his animals would be at risk and water systems could be poisoned.

At the start of the year, the Daily News reported on how the poisonous leathery-skinned devils had been spotted at the base of the Main Range National Park at Carneys Creek on the Boonah side and appeared to be advancing up the range towards the previously cane toad-free Southern Downs region.

There was some anecdotal evidence suggesting the cane toads were becoming more resistant to cold weather.

The toads have footholds in Toowoomba, east of the range and in northern New South Wales and there were minimal reports in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.

If the toads became resistant to the cold and could set up shop in our region, it would pose a huge risk to the fragile ecosystem of the Murray- Darling river system, which the Condamine River feeds.


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