Mutant frogs with extra legs or eyes, begin to be in the port city of Gladstone in Queensland – one of the most industrialized centers in Australia with a large coal power plant, two aluminum smelters and liquefied natural gas industry in full development.
In some areas of the city up to 20% of Cane toads have malfunctions – some with a third front leg growing from the trunk, others with eight fingers instead of four – compared to 1% of their population in the non-urban areas. The poisonous cane toads were introduced from South America in 1935 in the unsuccessful attempt to control pest of sugar cane, have since multiplied dramatically.
Such as frogs, due to the permeable skin “are for the freshwater ecosystem what are the canaries in the coal mines,” said Scott Wilson of the Central Queensland University. Between 6 and 8% of 10 000 toads examined in the Gladstone region over the past three years showed abnormalities, which may contribute to chemical discharges into water or air pollution. Wilson points out that the water quality and the health of fish in the bay of Gladstone are for some time at the center of environmental concerns. Last year, six dolphins were found dead and 231 turtles. The fishermen blame the pollution of water, suggesting that the large-scale dredging carried out in the port raised from the bottom of contaminants.