As one of Australia’s most invasive species – the cane toad – continues its march across the country towards The Kimberley, El Questro Wilderness Park is taking action to stop the toad by working with the Stop the Toad Foundation (STTF) and Monash University in a move to protect the area’s iconic Emma Gorge and surrounding property.
Attracting tens of thousands of tourists annually, who come to explore this vast and largely untouched wilderness, El Questro Wilderness Park is aiming to keep this spectacular area, with its inviting swimming holes and stunning waterfalls, cane toad free.
Working with STTF and Monash University, they will be erecting a special fence that will block access to cane toads but allow native animals to move freely through and over it.
The building of the two kilometre fence, which will take STTF volunteers three weeks to erect, will start at the end of this month and hopefully put a literal stop to one of the “world’s 100 worst invasive species”, as listed by the World Conservation Union.
Campaign Manager of the Stop The Toad Foundation, Kim Hands said: “When we began field operations in 2005, the aim was to try and keep toads out of Western Australia. Despite our best efforts and the removal of 200,000 cane toads from the Western Australia and Northern Territory border area, toads are now 70 kilometres into The Kimberley so it’s time to adapt our strategy to keep toads out of certain defendable areas within WA.
“We will be using cane toad proof fences that we have been trialling for the past three years. The results have been very positive – the fences are the most efficient manual control tool we have to date and have helped us to completely eradicate populations of toads.”
Recently released scientific evidence by the University of Sydney and Western Sydney states that cane toad fences are a viable control to this invasive pest and may be the key to stopping toads getting to areas of pristine wilderness.
The El Questro Management team will be working very closely with the STTF over the coming months with El Questro staff continuing to manage, maintain and monitor the fence as part of a three year project to ensure areas of high biodiversity are adequately protected.