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.

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