Monday, June 22, 2009

Rising numbers

Rarely has an invasion been so successful. Today marks the 74th anniversary of the introduction of Cane Toads to Australia. What started as 101 of them, caught in Hawaii by Reginald Mungomery of the Bureau of Sugar Research, has now burgeoned to ... well, people have actually lost count of how many there are now. Films have been made about them, sports have evolved around them, and souvenir shops carry them or their likenesses. Yes, successful indeed ... but did their introduction do what it was planned to do - control the beetles which were munching on local sugar cane crops? The jury is probably still out on this. But it's interesting that there are a couple of numbers about how many of the toads were initially released. The first figure of 101 came from The Daily Telegraph's "on this day". An Australian Museum fact sheet puts the initial release figure at more than 3000.

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