A cane toad has been spotted in Hawks Nest

Cane toads are ugly, unwanted and a serious threat to the natural environment of the MidCoast Council area, MidCoast Council senior ecologist, Mat Bell says.

Mr Bell was speaking about the feral pest after a recent suspected sighting in Coorilla Street, Hawks Next

He said capturing the toads alive would ensure serious negative consequences to native wildlife could be avoided.

Native to South and mainland Middle America, cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in June 1935 by the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Station (now Sugar Research Australia) in an attempt to control the native grey-backed cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum) and Frenchi beetle (Lepidiota frenchi).

Since then the cane toad population has expanded through Australia’s north and they are now moving westward at an estimated 40 to 60km/year.

Within 10 years of their introduction cane toads had reached Brisbane,  Burketown in north-western Queensland by the early 1980s, Iron Range on the Cape York Peninsula by 1983 and the tip of the Cape by 1994.

By 1995, their westward expansion had reached the Roper River in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory.

By March 2001, they had reached Kakadu National Park.

In February 2009, cane toads crossed the more than 2000km from the site they were released to Western Australian border with the Northern Territory.

To the south, cane toads were introduced to Byron Bay in 1965 and then spread to Yamba and Port Macquarie on the north coast of NSW in 2003.

Also, there have been reported sightings in Bellingen and more recently in Wauchope in early June.

In recent years cane toads have been infrequently sighted in the Great Lakes.