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Politics

Australia steps up battle against toxic cane toads

Researchers hope 'sickening sausage' will teach native carnivores to shun poisonous amphibian

Captured cane toads. (Photo courtesy of the Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife)

SYDNEY -- Toxic, prolific, and much reviled: Invasive cane toads are on the hop from Australia's eastern seaboard, westward through the tropics of the Northern Territory and on toward the Indian Ocean. Researchers now believe the toads will have traversed the entire continent of Australia within the next five years, traveling about 4,000 km -- a remarkable feat for an amphibian originally from South and Central America.

Scientists have yet to come up with a way of eliminating the poisonous toads, but new experiments with sausages made of toad meat -- to "teach" other animals that eating the toad will make them ill -- has given conservationists hope of saving those Australian carnivores hit hardest by the warty pests.

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