Monday 20th Nov, 2017

Amphibious Cuban tree-o stopped at the border

Photo: Thomas Brown
Photo: Thomas Brown

A TRIO of Cuban tree frogs stowed away in a container from the US were discovered by an eagle-eyed importer in Victoria.

Biosecurity officers were called in to capture and destroy the amphibian invaders.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources head of biosecurity operations Nico Padovan said the frogs were in a container carrying cooling equipment and were discovered at an importer’s premise.

“Fortunately, the find was promptly reported to biosecurity officers who attended the site and removed the crate for fumigation,” he said.

“While frogs may appear harmless, this particular species – the Cuban tree frog – is very invasive. It is native to Cuba, the Bahamas and Cayman Islands, but has spread to Anguilla, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and same parts of the US.”

Mr Padovan said Cuban tree frogs could prove extremely destructive to Australia’s wildlife, as they feed on frogs (including members of their own species), as well as lizards, insects, spiders and even small snakes.

“This is another example of the importance of collaboration between industry and our biosecurity officers to successfully detect and intercept biosecurity threats and safeguard our agricultural industries and environment,” he said.

“Exotic plant and animal species not present in Australia carry the potential to transmit diseases that could damage our $60 billion agricultural industry.”

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