The discovery of a suspicious-looking amphibian in Randall Street Wauchope on Monday (12 June) triggered a call to the FAWNA Wildlife Rescue Hotline. FAWNA responder, Cheyne Flanagan, an experienced amphibian rehabilitator, confirmed the discovery as a Cane Toad, Bufo marinus, an introduced pest that is not normally found as far south as Wauchope.
It is hoped that this Cane Toad was a hitchhiker on a southbound train, or on a freight vehicle making a delivery to one of the many businesses near that part of Wauchope. FAWNA’s President Meredith Ryan asks that people are vigilant and if they see an unidentified and suspicious looking amphibian that they place a container over it weighed down by a brick or rock and call the FAWNA 24 hour Hotline on 6581 4141. People should not handle cane toads without gloves as their skin is toxic to humans and animals. Provided gloves are worn the cane toad could be picked up and put in a bucket with a secure cover. The wildlife group asks that people do not kill or handle without gloves any unidentified amphibian as it might be an important local frog. The hygienic handling of all amphibians is important in preventing the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus.
Cane Toads were introduced into Queensland sugar cane fields in 1935 in an attempt to combat the harm caused to crops by the pernicious cane beetle and its larvae. The introduction was a spectacular failure and the cane toads thrived and have since become a major pest species spreading widely into northern NSW western Queensland and as far west as the NT and WA. The toads are toxic to native animals, birds and reptiles that might predate upon them, and domestic pets are also at risk. Several cane toad aversion studies are being undertaken in an attempt to lessen the harm caused to wildlife by this introduced pest.
For more information on FAWNA’s work with wildlife go to www.fawna.org.au
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Cane Toads have venom-secreting poison glands (known as parotoid glands) or swellings on each shoulder where the poison is released when they are threatened. If ingested, this venom can cause rapid heartbeat, excessive salivation, convulsions and paralysis and can result in death for many native animals.
From the public, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Vets and FAWNA, many hands came to the fore in an effort to help an underweight and moulting Little Penguin found needing help at Forster.
The juvenile Little Penguin, named Sweet Pea after his visit to the Sweet Pea Animal Hospital in Forster, was vet checked and announced ready for rehabilitation. FAWNA carers Gail and Allan, Wendy and June, arranged a relay transfer from Forster to Port Macquarie where temporary special facilities were prepared to take in this special little bird who was diagnosed as needing “fattening up” and supervision until the moult was complete and new feathers grown.
FAWNA carer, Gail from Rainbow Flat, reported “This little cutie won all our hearts as it was being transported to us, although it did bite me once when giving him some Spark. It was a pleasure to be part of this team effort to help this Little Penguin”.
The little penguin is the only penguin species that breeds on the Australian mainland. Little penguins are found along the southern coasts of Australia, from near Perth in Western Australia to around Coffs Harbour in northern NSW. They also occur in New Zealand.
Originally, little penguins were fairly common on the Australian mainland, but these days their colonies are generally restricted to offshore islands. Approximately 25,000 pairs nest on islands off the coast of NSW.
FAWNA asks if anyone comes across a penguin causing concern they should contact FAWNA immediately on 6581 4141, and keep it secure and warm, or take it to a local vet.
When ready for release the little penguin will be returned to its encounter location if its own species are present, or efforts will be made to introduce it into an existing penguin colony.
“Happy Feet” FAWNA’s last rehabilitated Little Penguin was successfully released in waters off Port Macquarie.
For more information about FAWNA’s volunteer work with wildlife go to www.fawna.org.au
Wildlife rehabilitator enclosure and equipment grants program for 2017 – 2018 opens 10 JUNE 2017
Announcing the opening of the 2017-2018 wildlife rehabilitator grants program, NSW Chair, Audrey Koosmen said:
“how pleased my committee and I are that Representatives and Alternates present at the NWC May General Meeting voted to increase both the maximum grant amount and to double the total Grant Budget for 2017 Grant applications”.
An afternoon with Elvis, concert and Sausage Sizzle to benefit FAWNA Wildlife, featuring one of Australia’s best Elvis impersonators Mal Hunt was a great success and FAWNA would like to thank everyone involved for putting the event.