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The unique wildlife of Madagascar is facing an invasion of toxic toads that could devastate the island’s native species. Snakes feeding on the toads are especially at risk of poisoning, as are a host of other animals unique to the island — such as lemurs and endemic birds — and the species could cause harm to humans as well.
In a letter to Nature1, 11 researchers warn that Asian common toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) were observed near Toamasina, the African country’s largest seaport, in March. It is suspected that the amphibians arrived from Asia in shipping containers, and are now taking advantage of what the writers describe as “ideal resources and climate” to establish themselves.
“Time is short, so we are issuing an urgent call to the conservation community and governments to prevent an ecological disaster,” say Jonathan Kolby, a wildlife-health researcher at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and his colleagues