Skip to content

Preventing the spread of cane toads in the Torres Strait

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) is continuing to support regional efforts to control the spread of cane toads throughout the Torres Strait.

Cane toads present a significant environmental risk to the Torres Strait region’s biodiversity and native plant species due to their toxicity at every stage of the lifecycle, affecting all levels of the native food chain.

They are already well-established on Thursday and Horn Islands and in recent months there have been confirmed sightings on Prince of Wales and Badu Islands and unconfirmed sightings on Warraber.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Pedro Stephen AM, said they have engaged the services of James Cook University to assist in implementing strategies to prevent the cane toads from spreading. This important work is being funded by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

“In order to prevent them from migrating to the outer islands, the TSRA has contracted James Cook University to provide cane toad traps, training and recommendations for cane toad management,” he said.

“The TSRA is working with scientists to develop sensitive DNA detection techniques that will allow us to detect a range of invasive species including cane toads by sampling our waterways.”

“The TSRA is works closely with relevant stakeholders including Torres Shire Council, My Pathways, Tagai State School, and the Horn and Thursday Island communities, to minimise the chance of spreading.”

“We are also working in collaboration with Sea Swift and Ports North to look at solutions to prevent toads being moved around through shipping.”

“We urge the community to check their shipments for cane toads, when travelling between the islands, especially if they have come from locations where cane toads are present, such as Cairns, Thursday Island and Horn Island.”

Mr Stephen said that it was essential to raise awareness of cane toads, and the impact they can have on outer island ecosystems.

“It is imperative that the cane toads do not migrate from Thursday Island and Horn Island to the outer islands of the Torres Strait,” he said.

Mr Stephen said the TSRA is also taking steps to ensure that the community is aware of the risks of cane toads making it to the outer islands.

“Community awareness is critical. TSRA Rangers are currently conducting cane toad surveys on Badu, Moa, Boigu and Warraber, with information brochures already being distributed and presentations being delivered in schools,” he said.

“We need to catch the threat early, otherwise there is little chance to remove all cane toads from these islands.”

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.