Dancing with Danger: using taste aversion to conserve reptilian predators in Northern Australia

Event type: 
2 October 2020


Dr Georgia Ward-Fear
Macquarie University
E&ERC PG Committee

How do you stop an ominous invasive species? You don’t, you train your wildlife to avoid it. This is the method we are employing with toxic cane toads and their vulnerable reptilian predators in the wilds of Northern Australia. But it takes a village: government, NGOs, and Indigenous communities. The synergy between Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science has been pivotal to this strategy. I’ll take you through the history of this strategy, what we’ve found so far, and how we are applying it ahead of the Cane toad invasion frontline.

Dr. Georgia Ward-Fear is a conservation biologist currently working across tropical Australia to mitigate the impact of Cane toads on apex reptilian predators. Georgia has worked in conservation in and out of academia across Australia and engages widely with a diversity of stakeholders and indigenous traditional owners. Her research is multidisciplinary, spanning animal behaviour, invasion biology and predator ecology. Georgia is a post doc in Rick Shine’s lab at Macquarie University and is one of Science and Technology Australia’s Superstars of STEM.