Cane toad busters say the toxic creatures are creeping further into WA and wiping out entire species of animals in some areas.
Toxic cane toads have reportedly wiped out entire species of animals in the world heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, home to Western Australia’s famed Bungle Bungles.
Kimberley Toad Busters (KTB) founder Lee Scott-Virtue said cane toad numbers had reached staggering numbers as they invaded every habitat system.
The first toad arrived just east of the Bungle Bungles – the large cone-shaped quartz sandstone ranges formed from erosion over 20 million years – in May last year.
The poisonous creatures had already wiped out some entire species of animals in the areas they infected including quolls and some reptiles such as king brown snakes.
Ms Scott-Virtue said visitors and people working in the park were horrified by the number of toads that had appeared since the wet season.
She warned numbers would continue to increase if nothing was done about their breeding.
“It’s going to happen in every national park,” Ms Scott-Virtue told AAP on Monday.
One operator commented that despite busting toads every night, there seemed to be just as many the next night, Ms Scott-Virtue said.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) has put in live toad drop boxes in the park but Ms Scott-Virtue said those toads were usually only found in permanent camp sites at night, which made up about one per cent of the total area of the park.
Killing toads in the national park remains prohibited and DPaW have banned the use of Dettol in the park – the only effective method of killing the metamorph, Ms Scott-Virtue said.
KTB was granted permits to work in the park but found the restrictions too prohibitive because they had to take the toad catch out of the park to euthanase and were not allowed to use Dettol to deal with the immature metamorphs.
They were also restricted to specific areas that contained designated vehicular tracks, which meant there was no access to a large part of the park to undertake appropriate toad busting, she said.
KTB has been trialling the use of Dettol on metamorphs congregating around water edges since 2006.
The group says there has been little residual evidence of Dettol afterwards and no evidence of bi-catch.
Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in 1935 and began spreading to the Northern Territory before invading northern WA in 2009.
They are now advancing into the state at a rate of about 50 kilometres a year.
The KTB has not had any government funding since last June.