Cane Toads Pose Potential Harm to Ecological Environment: Rearing Must Be Registered and Breeding Only Permitted with Authorization Following Announcement

On December 23, the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, R.O.C., formulated a review draft for the "List of Non-native Terrestrial Wildlife That Is Harmful to the Ecological Environment as Well as Human and Animal Safety," and announced the cane toad (Rhinella marina) as non-native terrestrial wildlife that is harmful to the ecological environment. The draft will be in the review period for 60 days; feedback from all members of the public is welcome. If you have any related comments during the review period, please send them to the following email address: wildlife@forest.gov.tw. After the Forestry Bureau consolidates all feedback and completes a full assessment, the final result will be processed through administrative procedures and announced.
The Forestry Bureau pointed out that the cane toad (Rhinella marina), which is native to the Americas, has a long life span, and high levels of adaptability and prolificacy. Furthermore, it is a threat to both the environment and the safety of humans and animals as it preys on small wildlife, and may cause the death of carnivorous animals when eaten due to its toxins. The cane toad has become an ecological hazard in Australia, the Philippines, and Japan, and it has been listed as one of the 100 Worst Invasive Species. Therefore, it has been proposed that the animal be added to the Council of Agriculture's list. The main cause of the environmental invasion of cane toads is pet abandonment. In the past, abandoned toads had been found sporadically in Taiwan. In November 2021, a number of reports from the public were received regarding the discovery of cane toads in the wild in the Caotun area. Currently, 426 adult toads have been removed.
The Forestry Bureau said that in order to prevent and manage cane toads from entering the ecological environment from the source, according to the provisions of Article 31 of the Wildlife Conservation Act, the cane toad will be added to the "List of Non-native Terrestrial Wildlife That Is Harmful to the Ecological Environment as Well as Human and Animal Safety." After the announcement, owners of this animal must register with their local competent authority for future reference, and breeding/selling may not be carried out without the authorization of the competent authority. By registering the toads and conducting follow-up checks on their numbers, we can effectively prevent the public from thoughtlessly abandoning and breeding cane toads. To preserve the ecological environment of Taiwan, breeders and those who no longer wish to keep cane toads as pets are encouraged to proactively hand over the cane toads in their possession to the competent authorities. The Forestry Bureau will also continue to work with relevant agencies and organizations to capture individual animals invading the wild, which should effectively control the cane toad population.
The Forestry Bureau emphasized that after the official announcement, if a cane toad owner does not register with the government of the local municipalities and counties (cities) within the time limit, or evades inspections after registration, a minimum penalty of NT$10,000 and maximum of NT$50,000 can be imposed according to Article 51 of the Wildlife Conservation Act.
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