Claims that poisonous cane toads are wiping out entire species of animals in Western Australia’s north have been rejected by the state government.
Kimberley Toad Busters (KTB) founder Lee Scott-Virtue alleges the toxic amphibians have killed some entire species of animals in areas they have infested, including quolls and king brown snakes.
She warned numbers had risen since the wet season and would continue to increase if nothing was done about their breeding.
But the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) Cane Toad Initiative co-ordinator Corrin Everitt said there were no permanent extinctions from cane toads in Australia.
“The species do come back,” she told AAP on Tuesday.
Ms Everitt said work was being done with the University of Sydney to find ways of mitigating the threat of cane toads on animals including quolls, large goannas and blue tongue lizards.
The KTB maintains that Dettol is the most effective way of ridding an area of cane toad metamorphs – the mid-stage between tadpoles and adults – but the practice is banned in national parks.
Ms Everitt said the use of Dettol on metamorphs was not “target specific” and was toxic to all aquatic life including native frogs.
WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob has been accused of ignoring the extent of the threat of the pests.
Ms Scott-Virtue said the minister had been invited several times to join the KTB for a tour to see the devastation but had declined.
A spokeswoman for Mr Jacob said one of his first trips after his appointment to the portfolio was to the East Kimberley in June.
“He visited areas infested with cane toads, participated in a biodiversity survey and was comprehensively briefed on the impact of toads in the Kimberley by Parks and Wildlife staff,” she said.
“The next time the minister is in the region he would be happy to meet with the Kimberley Toad Busters.”
Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in 1935 and began spreading to the Northern Territory before invading northern WA in 2009.
They are currently advancing through the state at about 50 kilometres a year.