NSW biosecurity specialists have been called to a property at Mandalong, west of Lake Macquarie, this week following the detection of a colony of cane toads.
The cane toads were reportedly found under a sheet of tin on the property.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is working with the property owner, local community, Local Land Services, local councils, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the University of Newcastle to assess and eradicate the infestation.
Minister for Agriculture, Dugald Saunders said the community now had a critical role to play in stopping the pests from spreading across the region and broader NSW.
“Community members must be diligent in keeping an eye out for and reporting any rogue toads, because the size of this colony indicates there could be many more in the area,” Mr Saunders said.
“Residents can support DPI’s surveillance efforts by checking their yards, looking under and around items on the ground, such as wood piles, pots and metal sheeting, where it’s safe to do so.
“Now is not the time for complacency – cane toads pose a significant risk to our domestic and native fauna and it is critical we keep them out of NSW.”
DPI’s Vertebrate Pest Biosecurity Manager, Quentin Hart said 17 cane toads have been captured during the ongoing surveillance operation at Mandalong.
“Time is on our side as cane toads are unlikely to be very active until the weather warms, which gives us the opportunity to find them before they leave their hiding places to breed,” Mr Hart said.
“We’re asking for people who can confidently handle toads to safely capture them, place them in a high-sided container and contact NSW DPI. Wear protective clothing, disposable gloves, long sleeves and eye protection if you do handle a cane toad, as they can release toxic ooze from the glands behind their head.”
Cane toad sightings can be reported by calling DPI’s Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244, or via an online form at https://forms.bfs.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forms/9247