Park rangers in Australia discovered what they believe is a record-setting giant toad deep in a rainforest of the country’s northern Queensland state. They then killed her because of her “ecological impact”.
The cane toad was spotted by park ranger Kylee Gray during a routine patrol in Queensland’s Conway National Park in Australia on January 12. She was shocked when she saw the animal. Gray and her colleagues caught the animal, killed her and brought her back to their park office. She weighed 2.7 kilograms (6 pounds).
In 1991, a pet toad in Sweden weighing 2.65 kilograms (5.8 pounds) set the Guinness World Record for the largest toad.
The toad was killed due to her “ecological impact”, senior park ranger Barry Nolan said. “The problem with an animal that big is that it changes the scope of what she can eat.”
“So she increases her prey selection, so she would be able to eat larger food items than what normal cane toads (would), so her impact on the environment is quite significant compared to a normal-sized cane toad,” Nolan added.
In 1935, cane toads were introduced to Australia to control cane beetles and other pests. Their introduction resulted in an explosion of the cane toad population, so the Australian government declared them as pests. With no natural predators, cane toads are a threat to the Australian ecosystem, Nolan explained.
He said a female cane toad as big as the one they found could lay up to 35,000 eggs. “So their capacity to reproduce is quite staggering. And all parts of the cane toad’s breeding cycle are poisonous to Australian native species, so prevention is a big part of how we need to manage them,” Nolan said.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science donated the body of the animal to the Queensland Museum for further research.