Friday, April 18, 2014

New Zealand students can buy beer with ... rats!!!

For centuries New Zealand flightless birds and slow-moving reptiles lived without fear of native predators. This golden era ended when the British showed up on rat-infested ships. Since then, rats have become the key player in the destruction of native forestry and the extinction of nine native species of birds. Clearly the rats need to go, but how do you motivate New Zealanders into becoming active rat hunters?

Beer Trap is a programme that lets time-rich and beer-poor university students swap dead rats for free brews. Genius, right? We spoke to Jonathan Musther, one of the masterminds of the campaign, about the intricacies of fixing the environment with young Kiwis and alcohol.


Right now the Department of Conservation have a great trapping system in our parks and reserves, but they can’t just walk in and start trapping in the backyards of various people’s house. So we began thinking about how we can get people involved with urban trapping. It started as a project in the Wellington zone to create a buffer zone around the parks and reserves, so that the birds that hop across the fence don’t just get eaten.

We do have a bit more of an obligation up in Kelburn [near the University], because we have Zealandia and the Otari-Wilton Bush. Those are the two big breeding areas, and the birds go between the two, and while in transit they get eaten by a cat or possum, or they nest outside and their eggs get eaten by a hedgehog or a rat.

 So we decided to get students involved, running Beer Trap from the Victoria University Science Society, and that the best way to incentivise them would be to get them a free drink. They are students after all. Full story...

Related posts:
  1. Karni Mata, the rat temple in India...
  2. Woman leaves husband ... for pet rats!
  3. The Bangladesh farmer who killed 83,000 rats...
  4. The low-caste having to survive on rats in India...

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