Island invasions: Prioritising surveillance for cane toads on Kimberley islands

Date: 13, Oct, 2021
Author(s):   Matthew McKinney, Lesley Gibson, Salit Kark
Publisher: TSR Hub

Kimberley islands are home to many native animals that have suffered major declines on the mainland. It is therefore important that they are protected from the threat of cane toads. This is one of the first studies to examine the factors shaping cane toad invasions specifically on Australian islands. We used knowledge of cane toad ecology and movement pathways to create a model of cane toad invasion to islands off the Kimberley coast of far north-western Australia. The model shows that natural methods of dispersal, such as rafting and swimming in freshwater pulses from nearby mainland rivers, are likely to be the main pathways for the arrival of cane toads to islands. Nevertheless, human visitation on islands and other human activity may also contribute to the arrival of cane toads on the islands. Our findings ranked the likelihood of invasion by cane toads on 386 Kimberley islands over time until 2027, which can help land managers to prioritise their surveillance efforts