The wildlife of Madagascar is facing an 'ecological disaster' due to an invasion of toxic toads. The toads are running amok on the island. They came to the island after being transported via shipping containers from south-east Asia. Snakes, lemurs and endemic birds are facing risk for their lives.
It is feared that the toads could also contaminate drinking water and transmit parasites to humans. Scientists have demanded that an urgent hunting programme must be launched to remove the toads before the situation gets out of control. They added that the ponds at the island must be drained to stop their breeding.
It may be recalled that in 1935 the cane toads had wiped out several species in Australia. The toads are still present in Australia and millions of them can be found across the the country.
The World Wildlife Fund says around 95% of Madagascar's reptiles and 92% of its mammals are not found anywhere on Earth.
An total of 11 researchers have written a letter warning that Asian common toads, or Duttaphrynus melanostictus, were spotted near Toamasina, which is largest seaport of Madagascar.
The females has the ability to lay 40,000 eggs a month. The toads can made use of the 'ideal resources and climate' to establish themselves.
Jonathan Kolby, a wildlife health researcher at James Cook University in Australia, and his colleagues wrote: "Time is short, so we are issuing an urgent call to the conservation community and governments to prevent an ecological disaster."