26 Nov 2009

The cane toad that almost got away

10:17 pm on 26 November 2009

The manager of a hiking business says quick thinking by his staff prevented the escape of a cane toad that had evaded a biosecurity check at Queenstown Airport.

The poisonous toad arrived in the luggage of an Australian tourist last week.

Ultimate Hikes general manager Noel Saxon says the woman, from Cairns, was at a briefing at the company's store before walking the Milford Track the next day, when she noticed the toad in her plastic bag.

A staff guide, who works part-time for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, contacted the ministry and was told to kill the toad by placing it in a freezer. It was later sent to the ministry for analysis.

Mr Saxon says he doubts the toad would have survived the cooler climate in Milford Sound.