Support IMB's Cane Toad Challenge research project

Professor Rob Capon and his team have discovered a way to turn cane toads’ own toxin against them, which has real potential to eradicate this long-term pest.

Cane toads are relentless invaders that reproduce at an astonishing rate, eat just about anything, and are highly toxic at all stages of their life cycle, as eggs, tadpoles and adults, poisoning and killing virtually all potential predators. The release of just 100 adult cane toads in Australia a mere 80 years ago, created the current situation, where hundreds of millions of poisonous cane toads now occupy millions of square kilometers of Australia, devastating native species as they advance across the nation.

For many years, the only option for reducing cane toad numbers has been hand capture of adults – known as Toad Busting. Despite dispatching many tens of thousands of toads, toad busting alone is not the answer. Each new generation of toads replenishes and builds on the last, and the invasion continues unabated.

Turning cane toads against themselves

We have discovered that cane toad tadpoles are drawn to a chemical attractant released by toad eggs. We isolated and identified this chemical, and developed tadpole attractant baits that we call BufoTabs.

When placed in the shallows where cane toad tadpoles congregate, a single BufoTab in a funnel trap attracted and trapped several thousand tadpoles, in just a few hours. As a bonus, the attractant was highly selective for toad tadpoles, and did not attract frog tadpoles. Once trapped, toad tadpoles could be harvested, humanely euthanised, and disposed of safely.

To take the battle to the toad we created the Cane Toad Challenge. We provide free BufoTabs and teach the public how to make and use their own traps. Although its early days, our tadpole trappers have already removed over a million poisonous tadpoles from local waterways.

Cane Toad Challenge

The Cane Toad Challenge (CTC) is a community engagement and citizen science program operated through UQ and led by Prof Rob Capon, aimed at fast-tracking the roll out of cane toad tadpole trapping. This is a big challenge on many levels. If you are interested in getting involved you can register to join as either a CTC Member, or a CTC Affiliate, and/or make a donation. 

CTC Member

If you are an individual member of the public you can register as a CTC Member (for free). From time to time we will send out CTC Updates to inform members on how we are tracking. At present, for legal and logistical reasons, we cannot provide baits direct to the public; however we can supply them to CTC Affiliates.

Register as a CTC member

CTC Affiliate

If you are associated with a volunteer or not-for-profit organisation, or a business or government agency (with an ABN) and have an interest in cane toad control, you can apply to have your organisation registered as a CTC Affiliate. This will require signing a CTC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), an agreement between the prospective CTC Affiliate and UQ, outlining a common interest in and a willingness to work together to advance cane toad control in Australia, and key terms and conditions. You will also receive forms to nominate a single CTC Contact person who will need to complete and returned a signed CTC Code of Conduct (to meet our obligations relating to animal ethics). Once the CTC MoU, CTC Contact and CTC Code of Conduct forms are in place, we will mail out tadpole attractant baits (known as BufoTabs).

Request a CTC affiliate application

See a list of our CTC Affiliates

How you can help

The CTC is a voluntary organisation, and relies on public and corporate donations. To help support the Cane Toad Challenge and move us closer to the goal of eradicating cane toads, please consider donating much-needed funds.

Donate to the Cane Toad Challenge

 

An Ugly Menace

Toad Traps: A New Weapon in the War Against cane Toads

The science behind cane toad tadpole baits

A cane toad bounty is not the answer

Cane toad challenge explained

 

Donate to Cane Toad Challenge

Although we do not run a help line, if you have a question that neither this webpage or the CTC FAQ guide (above) can answer, you can submit a general enquiry. We will do our best to respond in a timely fashion.

Submit a general enquiry