Students at Victoria University in Wellington are being offered drink vouchers for killing rats as part of a project aimed at conserving wildlife.
The Victoria University Science Society dreamt up the “Beer Trap” initiative along with members of a local urban development project named Enhancing the Halo.
The project is aimed at reducing the number of rats – common killers or wildlife and native birds – in the capital.
Science Society President Jonathan Musther told SBS the process of trapping rats and redeeming them for beer was quite simple.
“Once you’ve caught a rat, you can text one of three people who are often at uni, and to whom you can hand your rat,” he said.
“When you hand in your rat, you’re asked when and where you caught it, it’s labelled and put in the freezer. In exchange, you’re given a voucher for the uni bar.”
Information about who to contact, as well as photos of the rats, is available on a Facebook page dedicated to the Beer Trap.
Mr Musther estimated about 40 rats had been brought in so far.
He said that while the promise of beer got people interested, there was a more important motivation.
“I think the students who are catching the most rats are the ones who are getting involved because they want to make a difference in terms of conservation,” he said.
A spokesman for The Department of Conservation told SBS the project had its support.
“A hundred safe and humane traps are being provided free to students who join the programme,” he said.
He said that when rats, stoats, possums and other predators were introduced into New Zealand, the country “lost 42 per cent of its native birds, three species of lizards, three frog species, a species of bat and countless native insects.”
The project is not endorsed or supported by Victoria University.