The Milson Scout troop of Palmerston North has taken up the challenge. After an inspiring talk a couple of weeks ago by Horizons Regional Councillor, Rachel Keedwell, the 30 scouts, aged 10-14, have built their own trap tunnels, fitted traps and made a start towards making their community rat free.
Scout leader Andrew Mercer said the scouts showed a huge range in building skills with some not sure how to hold a hammer and others “smacking the nails in”. Melissa (aged 11) was the best at construction, according to Andrew’s son Fenn, a member of the troop.
Parents donated backyard scraps for the tunnel construction and Aaron Maddon of Horizon Regional Council supplied the scouts with traps. There was quite a discussion about what might make a good bait. One scout even suggested marshmallows.
“Peanut butter or marmite work well,” Andrew reckons.
“Cheese doesn’t work in a trap,” explains Fenn.
Fenn has his trap set in the park next door to his home. As well as their take-home traps, the scouts have 10 traps set in the bush by their meeting hall which they check once a week.
So have they caught any rats yet? You’d better believe it!
“The rats just keep getting bigger,” says Andrew – who has emailed us the photographs to prove it.
The scouts’ trapping efforts will count towards their Conservation Badge and Andrew hopes trapping introduced pests will become a permanent part of the scouting ethos.
The Milson Scouts have a zone camp in October where they’ll be gathering with 120 other scouts from around the Palmerson North, Marton, Bulls and Dannevirke areas. It’ll be a chance to share their trapping successes – and challenge other scout troops to start their own trapping programme too.