Caught web-handed

A trio of adventurous amphibians’ plans to relocate from the United States to Australia, by hiding in a container, have been foiled by biosecurity officers in Victoria.

Head of biosecurity operations, Nico Padovan, said the actions of a quick-thinking importer ensured the Cuban tree frogs were captured and destroyed before causing any harm.

“The frogs had stowed themselves in a container carrying cooling equipment and were discovered at an importers premise. Fortunately, the find was promptly reported to biosecurity officers, who attended the site and removed the crate for fumigation,” Mr Padovan 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 some parts of the US.

“Cuban tree frogs could prove extremely destructive to Australia’s unique wildlife, as they will 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.

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

“We’re very lucky to be one of the few countries in the world to remain free from many of the world’s most severe pests and diseases.

“Through a combination of offshore, at the border and onshore measures, we are able to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country and affecting our unique environment, native flora and fauna, our export and tourism industries and our lifestyles.”

Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and all Australian’s are urged to remain vigilant and report sightings of unusual pests to the department’s See.Secure.Report. Hotline on 1800 798 636.

For more information on reporting a biosecurity concern visit the department website or contact our customs brokers directly.