600 rats killed in under a year
Your chances of smelling a rat in the Wellington suburb of Wilton these days are pretty slim.
The Otari Predator Free group has reached a gratifying milestone with the capture of its 600th rat in less than a year of trapping.
Jim Tait, the man behind it all, started giving out free rat traps in Wilton last June and expanded to Wadestown just before Christmas, feeling buoyed by the success of the project so far.
‘‘This is a great effort by everyone and has been achieved in 11 months,’’ Tait said.
‘‘The number being caught has picked up as more traps are installed and people get the hang of it.’’
Unlucky number 600 was caught by Wilton Rd resident Paul Green who had been an early and eager adopter of the free traps.
‘‘I am honoured and delighted to have struck a small blow for good in the battle against rodentry,’’ Green said.
‘‘This was only rat No 5 for this excellent trap, but I expect more.’’
Despite several months with no captures over summer, Green persevered in his quest to capture as many rodents as possible. ‘‘Full marks to Paul and his family for keeping the trap baited and set when nothing was being caught,’’ Tait said. ‘‘It really shows the value of doing this as rats do move around and can suddenly appear, or reappear.’’ As well as the Otari success, the Wadestown group was also celebrating a milestone with its 300th rat caught by Rodent Free Wadestown member Nick Churchouse. ‘‘We’re part of [the group] trapping rats because we feel it’s an important thing to be involved in. If we love Wellington’s bush and birdlife, it follows we can all do something to help keep it heading in the right direction,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s also a way of teaching our kids about the natural world, pests and conservation. ‘‘Not to mention there’s a bit of competition among the neighbours about who can get the biggest.’’ Wellington is now home to more than a dozen suburb-specific predator-free groups and Tait said new volunteers were always welcome.