ON THE MENU: Cane toads are being made into sausages to teach native animals they are poisonous.
ON THE MENU: Cane toads are being made into sausages to teach native animals they are poisonous. Max Fleet BUN010216TOAD1

Cane toad sausages get put on a menu

THEY might not be offered at your nearest sausage sizzle stand, but cane toad sausages will soon be served to our native wildlife.

Professor Rick Shine from the University of Sydney will work alongside the NSW State Government to 'teach' native species to avoid eating cane toads.

He said the research would involve giving low-dose toad flesh sausages to Australian carnivores, such as quolls, which had been proven in other areas to teach cane toads are poisonous.

The Northern Quoll is an endangered species that Territory Wildlife Park staff have been training to stop eating cane toads to help the species survive.
The Northern Quoll is an endangered species that Territory Wildlife Park staff have been training to stop eating cane toads to help the species survive. Contributed

Sausages made from the poisonous, non-native toad will be put on the menu for threatened Australian species as part of a $75,000 grant to respond to the amphibian invasion.

A grant of $50,000 from the Saving Our Species Program will be coupled with $25,000 from the Department of Primary Industry's Biosecurity and Food Safety program.

"Cane toads are fatal to large predators, causing up to 95% mortality when toads first arrive in an area,” Prof Shine said.

"Field studies show that aversion training can help predators to survive the onslaught of toads to a new area.

"The research is based on observations that if a predator encountered a small cane toad, it becomes ill and avoids toads thereafter and thus, is relatively unaffected by the invasion.”

Office of Environment and Heritage executive director Ian Hunter said cane toads are a significant threat across the boarder and applying lessons learned to NSW would be a valuable exercise.

Mr Hunter said cane toads currently occurred in the Clarence Valley and further north, crossing the border into Queensland.

"Outside this area there have only been two major incursions, Port Macquarie and Taren Point in Sydney,” he said.

"Professor Shine's three-year project will help provide more information to better to manage the risk of future incursions and the potential impacts that would have on threatened species.”

Southern Cross University professor Phil Hayward is warning people to only eat professionally butchered cane toads to avoid poisoning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Southern Cross University professor Phil Hayward is warning people to only eat professionally butchered cane toads to avoid poisoning. Marc Stapelberg

Cane toads have also been flagged as the next possible food source for humans.

Southern Cross University Professor Philip Hayward said the introduced species could be the next sustainable source of protein.

Although Prof Hayward emphasised careful food preparation was needed to ensure they were same for human consumption.