The number of Mutant Toads found in Queensland's mineral city is far greater than the norm. Researchers are concerned about the number of mutated Cane Toads found in Gladstone, Queensland. And by “mutated”, we mean missing limbs, extra limbs, deformed limbs, missing eyes. Ordinarily, only 1% of Cane Toads found in rural and undeveloped areas suffer some sort of deformity. Across Gladstone, the rate rises to 7%. According to Scott Wilson of Central Queensland University, as many as 20% of toads are found with “malformations” in certain areas of Gladstone.
Wilson says he found similar results in the urban Cane Toads in Sydney. That may or may not exculpate Gladstone’s major industries: Coal and Aluminium, and the exporting of Liquid Natural gas and Ammonia from the Port of Gladstone. But it is concerning, as Cane Toads are considered to be the fresh water “canary in the coalmine”, whose overall well-being could be a harbinger for the rest of the eco-system and those who reside in it.
This is not the first environmental problem in the area. Authorities imposed fishing restrictions on Gladstone Harbour after discovering fish with skin lesions and cloudy eyes. In 2011, they also found hundreds of dead turtles and 6 dead dolphins.