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A sneak preview of the Introduced Species content in our Museum2you program, available for hire to communities across NSW.
Introduced Species: The alien invaders
Australia has been subject to a massive invasion of animals, plants and diseases since European settlement in 1788. The sheer scale and number of alien invaders has caused dramatic—sometimes catastrophic—changes to our native wildlife.
Any time a new plant, animal or disease finds it way into an ecosystem, it can have a knock-on effect throughout the whole environment. These species may damage land and water resources, carry disease, prey on native species and compete with native plants and animals for food and shelter.
How many introduced species are there in Australia?
Since 1770 more than 2800 weeds, 25 mammals, 20 birds, 4 reptiles, 1 frog, 34 fish, between 100 and 400 marine species and an unknown number of invertebrates have been introduced to Australia, many with dire consequences.
The Cane Toad story
When the Cane Toad was introduced to Australia from Hawaii, its purpose was to control a sugar cane pest: the Cane Beetle. However, Cane Toads did little for the control of Cane Beetles and soon over-multiplied, becoming a serious problem in the Australian ecosystem. They compete with native species for food and shelter and eat large numbers of a wide variety of prey, playing a major part in the decline of many native species. They are also poisonous, so can kill any animal who tries to eat them. Some frog-eating animals are often rare or have disappeared in areas where Cane Toads are found.
Related blog: Toad Busting: The battle against cane toad invasion