The sun set southwest brisbane and Linda Kemper She walks into a paddock, pulling a plastic-lined shopping cart behind her and flashing a flashlight in front of her.
Meters to her left, Jo Davies runs a parallel path in the gloom of the gathering, also carrying a custom caddy—a large bag of dog biscuits slung on a rope with a downtube cutout protruding from a seam-sealed top.
Joan Sheldon, to Kemper’s right, completes the human chain, carrying a bucket. Women methodically shine their lights under bushes, by ponds, and especially on cowboys.
European lords hunt stags, and Inuit hunt whales under the waves and ice. Kimber is intrinsically driving Queensland Search. This company of women is on a frog hunting trip.
They are not alone. Across three states and a territory, a small army of Australian volunteers is embarking on a week-long event dubbed the Great Cane Toad Bust.
Now in its second year, it is a competition that is taken very seriously around the city of Pune.
Kimber’s group — WACT (Women Against Cane Toads) — is the defending domestic champion, having landed a 928 of 9,468 area toads in a bust last year.
“Many of the ladies were a little squeamish at first,” Kemper says. “But it got to a point where it was really hard to go home if you didn’t have 150 toads.”
The cane toad was purposefully brought from Hawaii in the 30s of the last century Child poster of animal submitted for offense.
as an invasive species It continues to spreadIt kills naive predators with its venom and will devour anything it can put in its mouth. And it’s not just about wreaking havoc on other species.
While the toad showed little appetite for the sugar cane beetle that sugar planters initially hoped to control, it does regard the dung beetle as a delicacy. This means leaving more cowboys out on the pasture, exacerbating problems with flies and parasites among the livestock and reducing nutrients being returned to the soil.
Chris Bonner, on whose farm women hunt, speaks for almost every Queenslander when he describes his feelings for the large, miserable amphibian.
“It’s public enemy number one,” Bonner says.
On the front lines of her career down to and through New South Wales in Western Australiacane frogs can form wriggling carpets when they burst into a new area.
But the toad has been around across the east coast of Queensland for decades – and so, too, has the toad.
“You wouldn’t be a kid in Queensland if you didn’t hit a few frogs with your golf club,” Kemper says.
But this is a harsh technique that you don’t condone and don’t abide by. Its hunters use the most humane way to destroy their quarry: the refrigerator/freezer method.
After 24 hours in the refrigerator, the cold-blooded creatures slip peacefully into a state of hibernation. The freezer induces sleep from which they never wake up. This leaves an obvious problem, though, of what to do with so many frozen frogs.
“We emptied our 120-liter refrigerator three times a day last year,” says Kemper.
Emily Vincent of Watergum, the nonprofit organizers of the Toad Bust, recommends that enthusiastic participants take matters into their own hands.
“If busting frogs is something you enjoy, having an extra freezer in your garage is definitely a worthwhile investment,” she says.
But Watergum has set up permanent drop-off stations in south-east Queensland where people can dump frogs throughout the year.
From these frogs, the environmental charity extracts poison glands, which it uses to make bait to lure the tadpole. Watergum has begun commercializing these traps in an effort to turn the tide against these invasive species.
But Vincent has no illusions. No amount of human endeavor will be able to eradicate the cane toad, of which scientists estimate there are more than 200 million in Australia today.
“They’ve been here 90 years,” says Vincent. “Australia is a very big, often inaccessible country, we’ve gone too far for that.”
Fortunately, an increasing number of species are learning ways to do this Eat frogs safelywhile others become resistant to their toxins.
Vincent says the Great Cane Toad statue is about Buy more time for nature To deal with this problem in its own way.
“Native species, one day, will be able to manage cane toads on their own,” she says.
“But, for the time being, if cane toads continue to breed and reproduce, we run the risk that they will overwhelm our original species.”
And anecdotal evidence shows that busting frogs can help control local populations. This year, the women of WACT got dozens of frogs where last year they packed hundreds.
Partly because of the cooler summers – but their organized efforts couldn’t hurt.
And besides, says Jo Davies, it’s the right thing to do. At first, the Boonah woman said she was uncomfortable with the morality and practicality of killing frogs. But now, having discovered the cane toad’s crisp silhouette, Doc Marten deftly lays it on its back, plucks its hind leg and places the toad quietly down the tube and into its bag of dog biscuits.
“This is a mistake made by humans,” she says. “We all see this as our back-to-nature show.”