A Melbourne shopping centre has received a nasty early Christmas present with the discovery of a cane toad lurking in a pot plant.
The cane toad, one of northern Australia’s biggest pests, is believed to have hitched a ride on one of 7000 assorted palm species delivered to Kmart stores from a Queensland wholesaler.
The toad was found by Kmart staff in a pot plant supplied to its store at Southland shopping centre last week.
The discovery sparked a biosecurity alert in Victoria but searches by Kmart staff and Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries found no trace of other cane toads.
However, about 2500 palms have been sold by Kmart and Victorians who may have bought any were urged to check for cane toads.
DPI manager of landscape protection, Brendan Roughead said there was still a low chance that cane toads could establish in Victoria.
“Biologically speaking, Victoria is not a cane toad friendly environment because the climate is too cold,” Mr Roughead said in a statement.
“Kmart have responded quickly to this report and should be commended on their efforts to prevent any problems.
“About 2500 palms have been sold to the public and, although it is unlikely there are more cane toads, we would like people who have bought one of the palms from Kmart to check.
“Many species of native frogs are often wrongly identified as cane toads so we are urging people who suspect they have found a cane toad not to hurt it.”
People who suspect they have found a cane toad are asked to photograph it and report it to the DPI.
Mr Roughead said people should not handle frogs or toads as they were susceptible to disease after being touched.
The DPI can be contacted on on 136 186 and images can be emailed to highrisk.invasiveanimalsdpi.vic.gov.au
Article via The Age | 15 December 2009 |