Travelling toad-show to get rid of wildlife killer
Australia's cane toad plague could be eased if Chinese consumers could be persuaded that it was a health food, a farmer says.
Cane toads are reviled in Australia as a pest that destroys native wildlife.
John Burey, a meat processor from Queensland, is planning a trip to Beijing next month where he hopes to convince the Chinese to sign an export deal that could take millions of cane toads off Australia's hands.
The Chinese reportedly use toad poison as a heart stimulant, an expectorant and a diuretic.
Mr Burey said cane toad meat was also popular. "The skin, organs and gut are used for traditional medicines," he said.
The cane toad population has exceeded 200 million since it was introduced to control the sugar cane beetle in 1935.
Mr Burey said a deal could result in collection depots being established along the Queensland coast.
"People could bring them to us and we would pay per animal or per kilo," he said.
Some experts said this plan would not work. James Terpstra, who exported cane toad skins in the 1970s, said the Australian species, Bufo marinus, was not the one that the Chinese were interested in. (© Daily Telegraph, London)