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World rat expert to visit Howick

Published: 16 August 2019

New York rat expert Bobby Corrigan is to visit Howick to see how Aucklanders are tackling pest control.

Local board-funded Pest Free Howick has been working with the East Auckland Trap Library, Rotary, Lions, Friends of Mangemangeroa and Pest Free Howick ward biosecurity advisor Niklas Erikson to bring the rodentologist to Sancta Maria College, where students are involved in the Ōtara Creek Restoration project.

Pest Free Howick ward co-ordinator Lorelle Stranaghan says it will be an opportunity for Corrigan, who has advised cities across the world, to see rat trapping volunteers in action.

New York spends $35 million a year on rat control, including on blood thinner poisons that take days to kill, and Corrigan is keen to see how trapping can contribute.

He says rat numbers have exploded because food is easy to find and some poisons make rats ill quickly, so they stop taking baits. He favours injecting burrows with dry ice, releasing carbon dioxide gas so that rats fall asleep and never wake up.

But even after rats have been poisoned, he says, the survivors breed until the burrows are full again. The easy access to rubbish and rising temperatures help sustain them.

After decades of trying to outsmart rodents, he says has come to like and respect them.

"I admire and love this animal. That is my life's paradox."

In 2008 Corrigan was inducted into the Pest Management Professionals Hall of Fame, which described him as the industry pre-eminent rodent expert.

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