Cane Toads - CSIRO Australia - Media Release 98/75

To: birding-aus posts <>
Subject: Cane Toads - CSIRO Australia - Media Release 98/75
From: David McDonald <>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 09:42:41 +1000
Being sensitive about such things, I note the date of issue of this
media release, but am assuming that it is not significant.
For info.

David McDonald
PO Box 1355, Woden ACT 2606, Australia
Tel: +61 2 6231 8904 (h); +61 2 6249 5618 (w)
Fax: +61 2 6249 0740

CSIRO Australia CSIRO Media Release
Mr Nick Goldie (02) 6276-6478
Mobile (0417) 299-586
Fax (02) 6276-6821

1 April 1998

Ref 98/75


"Cree-cree-cree": the harsh cry of the common myna, an aggressive, cheeky bird which was introduced from India to Melbourne in the mid-1860s. Now, the myna is taking over territory and nesting sites from native Australian birds and small mammals in Australia's eastern States.

Scientists warn that the myna could become a national problem, comparable to the cane toad, the rabbit or the European carp, and are preparing a major survey of myna numbers across Australia.

In 1968, a Canberra resident, reportedly nostalgic for the sounds of Asia, released twelve common mynas in the suburb of Forrest. In 1990, a survey showed there were about 1220 mynas in the ACT, ranging from one to 31 birds per square kilometre. By 1998, numbers had soared to more than five times the 1990 figure, and no suburb was free of the pest.

The 1990 survey was conducted by 150 members of CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club, under the supervision of a scientist from CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology.

The new survey will also make use of Double Helix members from around Australia - the Club today has some twenty thousand members - under the direction of project leader Dr Chris Tidemann of the Australian National University.

Mynas are such a pest they've earned the name 'garbage birds' or 'flying cane toads', says Dr Tidemann.

"They're the common thugs of the bird world. They forcibly evict native parrots from tree hollows and destroy their eggs and chicks. Like many introduced species they have a very negative impact on native wildlife."

The new survey will extend the research done in Canberra and document the spread of mynas around Australia, says Dr Tidemann.

"The information we gather will help us decide if conservation agencies need to be concerned, whether myna numbers need to be controlled, or if their nests should be relocated," he said.

National Coordinator of CSIRO's Double Helix Club, Rebecca Scott, says that the Club's members have a long history of helping Australian scientists with their research.

"In the last five years, we've done major national surveys on earthworms, fruit flies, dung beetles and termites" she says. "As well as providing invaluable data to scientists, we're teaching kids what real research is all about."

Double Helix invites anyone who would like to join the study to contact the Club for a survey card, says Rebecca. "It's as simple as filling it in and returning it to the reply paid address."

More information from:

Rebecca Scott, Coordinator of CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club on (02) 6276 6639 work ph, (02) 6248 6868 home ph, fax (02) 6276 6641

Simon Torok, Editor of The Helix magazine on (02) 6276 6472 work ph, (02) 6282 5269, fax (02) 6276 6641 for more information.

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