Sunday, September 15, 2013

The cane toad has no positive ecological value in The Bahamas

BNT warns: Dead cane toads still poisonous

Guardian Senior Reporter

Director of the Bahamas National Trust Eric Carey warned people who may choose to kill cane toads, an invasive species, to be careful how they dispose of the poisonous amphibians.

Carey said that residents should be careful not to dispose of dead toads in areas where they may contaminate the water supply and explained that even when dead, their bodies are still poisonous.

Last week Friday, environmental officials warned the public not to approach, relocate or sell the cane toad if anyone comes into contact with one.

Since the warning, photos have emerged on Facebook showing toads that locals have captured and killed.

Carey warned those who kill the toads themselves to be sure that it is not an indigenous species and to be careful how they dispose of the carcasses.

“If people want to kill them, [they should] know for sure it is a cane toad. It’s an invasive species that has no positive ecological value in The Bahamas. We don’t have preferred methods of killing them, obviously the safe method is to capture and freeze but you know people see it and just want to get rid of it,” he said.

“People are stabbing them with pitchforks and all sorts of brutal things. Are we concerned that people are killing them? Not necessarily, but they should still be disposed of properly and not be put in places where they may contaminate water.

“They still have the poison in them so you don’t want to throw them near a well. I would say put it in a garbage bag and put it in a garbage bin.”

Carey also said officials have confirmed that the toad has spread out of Lyford Cay into nearby Mount Pleasant Village.

Carey could not say if the toad has made its way to other areas of the capital but said it is likely considering the amphibian’s breeding practices.

“They’re going to spread,” Carey said on Thursday. “We now know they have been here since 2011 at least. Initially we were hoping they had only been here three or four months because that’s when people really started seeing them.

“We have a few people who have confirmed with dated photographs that they have been around since 2011 at least, possibly as early as 2010.”

Officials had originally thought the toad was introduced to The Bahamas earlier this year.

The toad can grow up to 10 inches in length. It is able to produce a toxin from glands lying just behind its eyes and is capable of killing small pets and causing severe skin reactions in humans.

Last week, Minister of Environment Ken Dorsett said someone who believes they have seen a cane toad should report the location to the BNT and Department of Agriculture; take a picture and email it to and call Sandra Buckner at 393-3821.

September 14, 2013