Prof Ronny Rachman Noor Reveals Why Sugar Cane Frogs in Australia Are Now Pests

A few days ago the world was shocked by the discovery of a giant cane frog weighing 2.7 kilograms in Conway National Park in the Australian state of Queensland. It is possible that another giant cane frog known as Toadzilla will be found again.

With this gigantic size, it's no wonder that the cane toad found broke the world record as the world's largest frog.

According to Prof Ronny Rachman Noor, Ecological Genetics Expert from the Faculty of Animal Science, IPB University, shows that a species that lives in an environment with abundant resources and no natural enemies, will be able to reproduce and experience body development beyond normal limits and turn into a predator.

Prof Ronny said that the presence of a new species introduced into an ecosystem could get out of control and destroy other species that have naturally been in that ecosystem for hundreds or even thousands of years.

“Australia is indeed an example of how cacti, cane toads, goldfish, wild boars, camels, buffaloes, rabbits and others that previously accidentally entered Australia are now breeding in the wild in an uncontrolled manner. They turn into pests that bring disaster and enormous losses," continued Prof Ronny.
Therefore, he added, learning from this bad experience, it is not surprising that the Australian quarantine system is known as one of the strictest quarantine systems in the world.

According to Prof Ronny, in 1935, as a solution to dealing with cane beetles in the Queensland region, the Australian government decided to import cane toads from Central America and South America. “The existence of this cane toad is indeed quite effective in overcoming the cane weevil which damages crops. But unfortunately the side effects of bringing in this alien species are also bad and were not taken into account beforehand," said Prof Ronny.

He added, with the presence of natural poison in the cane toad's body, there are no natural enemies including snakes who do not want to prey on this poison frog. According to Prof Ronny since the inclusion of the cane frogs, the population of these frogs has spread and increased very rapidly, reaching other states in Australia, especially in the Northern Territory which eventually became pests because their populations were out of control.

"A female cane frog according to research results can lay as many as 30 thousand eggs in each mating season. Plus these cane frogs can live for 15 years," he said.

He said, these cane frogs eat almost anything including insects, reptiles and small mammals which of course causes disruption of the balance of the ecosystem.
“Even though it looks slow, it turns out that these cane frogs can move and spread at a speed of about 40-60 kilometers per year. So it is not surprising that this cane frog with its very high adaptability has now spread to almost all parts of Australia and has become a pest that disturbs the balance of the ecosystem," he added.

He added, the Australian Government is currently very overwhelmed by the increasing population and spread of these cane toads due to the absence of natural enemies. Various ways have been done but until now have not succeeded in overcoming the population explosion of this cane toad.

“The existence of new species introduced into an ecosystem can get out of control. This new species can also destroy other species that have naturally existed in the ecosystem for hundreds or even thousands of years," said Prof. Ronny. According to him, this incident was a very valuable lesson for Indonesia in bringing in alien species both through official and illegal channels. (*/Zul)

Published Date : 25-Jan-2023

Resource Person : Prof Ronny Rachman Noor

Keyword : IPB University, Sugar Cane Frog, Prof Ronny R Noor, Faculty of Animal Science