FAQ – What about the cane toad?

The cane toad (Bufo marinus), was introduced to Australia by the sugar cane industry in 1935 in an ill-judged attempt to control pest beetles. This was done against the recommendations of scientists at the time. Thousands of toads were released without any host specificity testing and not only failed to control the beetle but turned their carnivorous attention to anything that moved and was small enough to be swallowed. They went on to become a significant problem themselves. Although carried out in the name of biological control, today’s practitioners consider this unfortunate case to have been a highly irresponsible act in an age when there was no real regulation and safety testing. Today’s pest risk analyses should prevent such a thing happening again.