|Mosaic Cane Toad at Cane Toad World, Gordonvale, QLD|
As one of the original 1935 Bufo Marinus (aka 'Cane Toad') release sites, Gordonvale's sugar industry was under threat from pests including the cane beetle. So it was well placed to observe the effects of Cane Toad introduction and their subsequent, and somewhat successful takeover bid for Australian environmental supremacy.
|Entrance to Cane Toad World, Gordonvale, QLD|
Well … place a toxic toad - with no local natural predators and so spoilt for dietary choices it almost completely ignores the cane beetle - into Australian conditions, near ideal for adaptation and invasion?
HHHMMMmmm... what's wrong with this picture??
Then add in a significant reduction in native species that feed on toads and tadpoles. Oh, and bufotenin, a chemical secreted by the toad? It's a Class 1 drug – although toad licking as a form of ingestion may be a bit extreme ...
|Cane Toads (complete with tongue) in Cane Toad World playground|
From the original 1935 release of 102 Hawaiian toads, numbers in Australia are now thought to exceed 200 million! So apart from a weird line of novelty gift products, controversial use in informal sports, and a cult-status documentary about the cane toad invasion, what does a nation like OZ do with a predator like Bufo Marinus?
Give it its very own Cane Toad World, of course!
But suppress those visions of being photographed with a cane toad, the Big Cane Toad, cane toad rides and cane toads in song!
Cane Toad World currently consists of the cane toad story in mosaic mural and a cane toad themed playground. Just a little bit anticlimactic … unless, of course, it's still in development!
|A mosaic history of Cane Toads in Australia - at Cane Toad World!|
But on another level, the mosaic unashamedly exposes the ongoing problems caused by the Bufo Marinus invasion and is therefore a caustic comment on government 'expertise' and 'accountability', implementing untested environmental solutions and the ongoing effects of such decisions on ordinary people.
So its really just as well we've introduced effective risk analysis methodologies, implementation guidelines, effective monitoring mechanisms and accountability frameworks so we're not destined to repeat past mistakes, isn't it?
Or we might be left with another infamous Aussie icon like the Cane Toad ...