Hopalong catastrophe: Sydney surrenders to northern invaders
WE HAVE lost the war against our most notorious feral invader.
''The eradication of cane toads is not currently possible,'' a federal government report concedes.
The admission comes as scientists say a small group of the slimy pests recently discovered in Taren Point in Sydney - originally stowaways - has been breeding for about a year.
More than $10 million over the past two decades has been handed to scientists to develop a method to eliminate the species. Community groups have also received funding to prevent the spread of the pest.
But none of these endeavours has stopped or even slowed the toad invasion, according to a draft threat abatement plan released by the federal government.
Steve Cope, the director of Knock-Out Pest Control, said his company had 12 call outs for toads in the Shire since November. Last year, there were none.
''There've been reports of one factory with over 70 toads,'' he said. ''The sizes vary dramatically. It's possible all of them are brought down in containers, but it's unlikely. It's the same site with this issue since 1995.''
Mr Cope, who runs the largest pest control company in the Shire, said the toads were now living through the Sydney winter.
Cane toads are widespread in tropical northern Australia and have moved as far south as Coffs Harbour in northern NSW.
The head of the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre, Tony Peacock, said there was no technology to thwart the pest. ''We've spent $20 million looking, and nothing on the horizon, in my view, looks promising.''
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