Young heroes take on pests

Last Updated : 27 Aug 2018
When a rodent crawls – who do you call?
Botany Downs Secondary College rat-trapping team

As part of Auckland Council's EnviroSchools programme, a team of Botany Downs Secondary College students have been trapping and capturing rats at the school and local reserve.

These young heroes are determined to help make the area pest free and protect New Zealand’s native species.

“It’s heartening to see our local environment in the good hands of young people like this keen to play their part in having a pest-free community,” says John Spiller, Howick Local Board’s environment portfolio lead.

“The passion they and many other school and community groups have is something we admire and will want to harness and as we start to develop our own pest-free strategy over the next 12 months.”

One of the heroes, Rawan Saadi, tells us why they got involved and how the trapping’s been going.  

Trapping rats to help our birds

When people think of New Zealand, there are certain images that occur to them: bungee jumping, oversized L&P bottles, sheep and Lord of the Rings. However, one of our biggest appeals is the wildlife that surrounds us, particularly the bird life, some of which can only be found on our little islands of New Zealand.

The native birds have known this area since long before us humans arrived. That’s why it’s upsetting to think of them becoming extinct because of pests that we humans introduced into the country.

The rats that stowed away on the settlers' boats years ago have made themselves at home in our bushes and use our birds and their eggs for their daily meals.

When a rodent crawls – who do you call? 2
Faiza Aboobacker

To help in the protection of our birds, the Botany Downs Secondary College Enviroschools group has set up pest traps in Logan Car Reserve next to the college.

The traps are small, black boxes that have an opening at each end. The rat enters when it smells the peanut butter inside. When the rats eat the peanut butter, they trigger a strong plastic clamp that closes and kills them.

Our job with Enviroschools is to check the traps every weekday and dispose of any rats caught. We also check there is still plenty of peanut butter bait. During May, we caught 22 rats!

Our work goes towards improving our environment and natural habitat to try to preserve the bird life we have left.

Get involved

To get involved with trapping, check out more about getting the best traps and trapping techniques.

Enviroschools is a programme that supports children and young people to plan, design and implement environmental action.

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