Muster of the busters
Armed with rubber gloves, nets and buckets, they centred their search on a section of the Arakwal National Park that was crawling with cane toads twelve months ago.
To their surprise and delight, they returned with a grand total of just seven toads, and plenty of native frog sightings - proof that previous musters and regeneration work have succeeded in controlling the local cane toad population.
Byron Shire Council Environmental Officer Wendy Gibney, who coordinated this week’s cane toad muster, said she had expected too see more toads, as the muster area was close to a residential zone and incorporated a former breeding pond.
Nevertheless, she was pleased with the result.
“It shows the National Parks and Wildlife Service have done a good job in regenerating the pond from its formerly degraded state, which attracted the toads,” she said.
She said the sighting of native frogs, which cane toads like to eat, was also a good sign.
The cane toad muster was the first of four planned for the Byron Shire this summer.
Local residents are being encouraged to join the musters, where they are briefed on how to identify, catch and kill cane toads in a humane way.
Ms Gibney hopes educating the local community will help in the ongoing control of the cane toad population.