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Can using an introduced animal to control another animal actually work on a large scale?

I have seen on the Internet the devastation being caused by cane toads and I was wondering if this is just a one off occurrence. If so, should this technique be used more often? Surely this biological control will actually work well if the research on the chosen animal is done properly. Also if it goes wrong surely the animals can be removed quickly so why didn't they do that for the came toad? Obviously it would be better if the animal didn't have to be introduced but it would be much more friendly way of controlling animals. No killing would be involved so it would also suit animal activists and if it works then one could focus less on controlling the actual pests population meaning it would also be cheaper.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/markavery/archive/2010/10/11/pheasants.aspx - This is a link which explains some of the effects that pheasants have caused in the uk. They have not effected the natural environment very badly even though no research was done on to the effects. Surely this shows that if we are carefully then it is possible.


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  • May 25 2013: This has happened many times, the cane toad in Australia is just one such case, the introduction of rabbits in the early 1900's in Australia was another. They multiplied to the millions and were only stopped by introducing mixametosis, the disease specific to rabbits which wiped out the population to managable levels. In that case two introductions worked to cancel each. This worked because the disease was so specific. It failed with the cane toads because they could not be eaten ny predators (they are poisonous), had a vast area to expand into so food was not lacking and lastly they chose to eat food which was easier to obtain than the beetle they were sent to destroy. This happens when people think in a piecewise fashion so that they forget about the environmental interactions that constantly take place. To succeed you need in depth research and trials over maybe several years to be sure of what will happen and even then you could have missed something. This is the main weakness with GM food, the environmental effect of which has not been thoroughly studied.

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