Australia’s feral cat campaigner nabs cane toad gong

Media Release |

His unwavering campaign against Australia’s rampant feral cat population has won the country’s Threatened Species Commissioner a Froggatt Award, handed out in honour of Walter Froggatt, a lone voice in the 1930s warning against the introduction of the cane toad. 

“Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, has fearlessly championed efforts to raise awareness about the impact of feral cats and other pest species on our native wildlife,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.

“Gregory Andrews’ work has extended far beyond his avid use of social media, which he uses deftly to tap into audiences across Australia.

“He has reached out to local communities across Australia, listened to their concerns and found ways to help. He has patiently explained to cat lovers about the need for feral cat control and how pet owners can be part of the solution, not the problem.

“Mr Andrews has turned the tables on how public servants communicate with the public. We are now having a national conversation about a vital conservation issue.

“His enthusiastic and tireless efforts have led to widespread understanding of the serious damage feral cats inflict on Australia’s threatened mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds, and driven a science-based plan to coordinate and stimulate action.”

Mr Andrews won the Froggatt Award in the communications category, and joins other winners this year.

  • Research: Ecology Australia for their work in lifting the lid on the expansion of a dangerous new amphibian invader in Melbourne’s suburbs.
  • Control and eradication: SPRATS, remote area volunteers who have led a ten-year program to rid Tasmania’s wild southwest coast of the weed sea spurge.

About the Froggatt Awards

When Australia was first considering releasing cane toads to control beetle infestations in the sugar cane industry, Walter Froggatt warned that ‘this great toad, immune from enemies, omnivorous in its habits, and breeding all year round, may become as great a pest as the rabbit or cactus’.

His lobbying efforts were initially successful, but overturned in 1936, and cane toads were released throughout the sugar cane regions of Queensland. The rest is history.

Now, invasive species have become one of the largest threats facing Australia’s natural environment, but their continued arrival and spread is all too often neglected as a conservation issue.

The Froggatt Awards are given to those who have made a major contribution to protecting Australia’s native plants and animals, ecosystems and people from dangerous new invasive species.

For comment

  • Invasive Species Council: Outreach Officer Reece Pianta 0422 935 665, CEO Andrew Cox 0438 588 040.
  • Threatened Species Commissioner: Gregory Andrews 02 6274 1646.

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