James Cook University was a beneficiary after a massive cane toad hunt in northern Queensland. The university took possession of dozens of toads following the inaugural Toad Day Out hunt in late March. The biggest specimens were given to a local taxidermist who intends to sell stuffed toads at the local markets. Those that didn’t make the grade met with a poetic end – their flesh and blood was added to locally made mulch used on cane farms. Up to 5000 of the hated amphibians were captured in Townsville alone, greatly reducing their impact on the environment. On average, each female can lay up to 10,000 eggs. Toad Day Out, the brainchild of Queensland Liberal Nationals MP Shane Knuth, was staged to raise awareness of humane ways of catching and disposing of the toads – the catch was euthanased by freezing. Prizes were awarded to children for the heaviest individual toad (560 grams) and heaviest total weight of toads. The project, supported by the Townsville, Burdekin, Ingham, Charters Towers and Cairns councils, was timed to happen between Earth Hour and April Fool’s Day. Cane toads were introduced to north Queensland canefields from South America in 1935 to eat pest beetles, but they couldn’t jump high enough to reach the beetles at the top of the cane stalks and, instead, became one of Australia’s most noxious and indestructible pests. AAP>
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