It's open season on toads
IT'S toadbusting time again.
Summer heralds toad-breeding season and the Conservation Volunteers are ready to take the pests on.
The Toadbusters program kicks off tonight from 6.30 with a barbecue at Reg Tanna Duck Pond.
The real action begins at 7pm when the toadhunting gets under way.
It'll be volunteer engagement officer Tracey French's first toadbusting session.
She said she hoped others would join in.
"We need support from the whole community to return local waterways to a more natural state and give native frogs a chance to survive.
"If everyone became a Toadbuster, these toads will get busted."
Toads are caught and placed in a special bag for safe and humane disposal.
Within an hour, the captured toads are put into a freezer.
Once the cold air hits them, their natural inclination is to hibernate.
Long-time toad hunter Iris Cosgrove (see below) said it was a painless death.
Toadbusters was formed in 2011 with Gladstone Regional Council funding.
"The public demanded something be done," Ms French said.
"The toads had reached plague proportions."
Toadbusters will meet once a week, working to clear key sites including Reg Tanna and Beaumont Park, Clinton.
Participants need to wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers, sturdy shoes and gloves.
For details, contact Tracey French on 4972 496.
The bodies of some of the toads caught as part of the Toadbusters program are donated to science.
The CQ University study uses the toads as a "bio-indicator" to determine the health of the environment.
CQ University research fellow Dr Scott Wilson takes a sub-sample of the night's catch and examines them for any abnormalities and malformations.
"We examine them for anything strange," he said.
"All populations have some level of abnormation.
"They can be signs of stress and can tell us whether or not we should be concerned about the toads' habitat."
The study is in its third year.