New campaign offers drinks for dead rats
Tuesday 11 Mar 2014 6:12 p.m.
Gareth Morgan has already campaigned to get rid of cats to save native birds. Now he's targeting rats.
The Wellington philanthropist is offering university students a free drink to catch and kill rats.
The price for a beer has gone down at student bars; it will now cost you one rat, preferably dead.
Victoria University's Science Society slapped a bounty on rats in the hope that eager, thirsty students will help eradicate them. And they will throw in a humane rat trap for free.
"There are obviously people who get behind it for the drinks, the rewards, but then there are a lot of ecology students who are very passionate about trapping and very passionate about New Zealand native flora and fauna," says Science Society president Jonathan Musther.
Mr Morgan is passionate about preserving New Zealand wildlife, so was happy to foot the bill.
"We're trying to make an offer that students just can't refuse, and we're trying to get them to be our army," says Mr Morgan.
Rats are a common urban pest, so students can set the traps at their flats.
Mr Morgan's anti-cat campaign was met with outrage when he announced it last year. Some suggest the cat campaign could actually have increased the rat population.
"There's no evidence whatsoever for that," says Mr Morgan. "As I say, at most 20 percent of rats end up as a victim of cats."
Trapping is part of Mr Morgan's Enhancing the Halo project – an effort to make Wellington backyards safe havens for native wildlife. But will the student population get involved?
"The lure of freebies usually gets people along, but when they find out what they have to do they might be a bit deterred," says one student 3 News spoke with.
Mr Morgan will launch the beer trap at the Hunter Lounge on Thursday night. They will have 100 traps ready for the student bounty hunters and the bar tab is unlimited.