Mon, March 30, 2009
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Australia culls cane toads

2009-03-30 10:07:25 GMT2009-03-30 18:07:25 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Australia launches a cull of poisonous cane toads which are killing off native animals as they hop across the country.

The toads were introduced from Hawaii in 1935 to combat native cane beetles but numbers have now swelled to about 200 million and rising as they spread relentlessly across the country.


Operation Toad Day Out is Australia's best answer so far to tackle a plague sweeping the nation.

Residents in Queensland are gathering up highly poisonous cane toads.

The animals they find are delivered to collection points to be frozen or gassed to death and turned into fertiliser.

The day netted several thousand of the toxic toads.

SOUNDBITE: Unidentified man saying (English):

"They're one of the most destructive creatures and one of the most disgusting creatures, and one thing they're doing is killing our native wildlife and they're taking over our habitat."

SOUNDBITE: Unidentified boy saying (English):

"I've got no clue how many we've got but they're all fat."

Just 101 toads were deliberately introduced to the country from Hawaii in 1935.

It was an unsuccessful bid to tackle beetles who were destroying sugar crops.

Naturalists and scientists warned against it at the time.

It's estimated there are now 200 million cane toads in Australia.

The animals produce a highly poisonous venom from skin glands which kills any predator trying to eat them.

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