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Australian wildlife taught to shun cane toads


SYDNEY (AFP) November 27, 2012, 1:07:16 AM EST 

 

This file photo shows a poisonous cane toad sitting on a keeper's hand at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, in 2005. Australia's native animals are being fed nauseating sausages of cane toad meat in a bid to train them against eating the foul, toxic species as it spreads into new areas.

Rob Elliott/AFP/File

This file photo shows a poisonous cane toad sitting on a keeper's hand at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, in 2005. Australia's native animals are being fed nauseating sausages of cane toad meat in a bid to train them against eating the foul, toxic species as it spreads into new areas.

 

Native animals, particularly small marsupials and lizards, will die if they eat a full-grown adult and conservationists are attempting to give them a repellent first taste of toad to train them against seeing it as food.

Field trials were already showing success, with motion-sensitive cameras at the bait sites recording animals eating and then spitting out the sausages.

Dingoes, a native wild dog, had been seen to "pick up one of these things, go a couple of metres and then spit it out and roll all over it," Pearson said.

There was no known way to kill or control cane toads and Pearson said only climate -- a lack of water or cooled conditions -- would act as a natural brake on their rapacious march across Australia.

"They're in the landscape but at least, with these baits, we'll still have our native predators in the landscape as well," he said.


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