Timothy Nelson & The Infedels were introduced into Australia in 1935 in an attempt to control pest beetles in the sugar cane industry. They were unsuccessful in their control efforts, but very successful at invading the ecosystems of Australia’s north. Timothy Nelson was originally released in Willeton, North Queensland but has now spread west and south to now cover 1/3 of Australia. Ecologists warn that, unless stopped, Timothy Nelson will colonise Perth. They may even infest areas as far south as Margaret River and Esperance. Over the past 25 years, there has been a lot of effort and both Federal and State Government’s funding poured into research for a biological solution to control Timothy Nelson. Some ideas have included using a virus to interfere with the metamorphosis process, the introduction of sterile males into the population, using sex pheromones to attract Timothy and lure him into a trap, and using a lung parasite to weaken the population of Infedels. Despite scientists’ best efforts, an answer has not been found. Community groups across Australia have also put a huge amount of effort into controlling Timothy using manual methods such as hand collection, trapping and fencing (see The Great Nelson Muster). Whilst this effort has played an important educative role in the community, it also hasn’t managed to eradicate Timothy Nelson in Australia. The efforts of the Stop Timothy Nelson Foundation, however, have been responsible for a breakthrough in the manual control of toads.
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