Remove rodents with live-trapping

Dr Lynn Hurry, Environmental Sustainability Matters, Fish Hoek

As a resident in a Fish Hoek apartment block with a small garden I have recently been confronted with a problem from the management agency relating to the removal of black rats.

The problem is that the agency has called in a fumigation company to place poisoned bait boxes in our small garden – disregarding the advice of a number of the residents that the agency consider using traps instead of poison.

As a professional ecologist I am totally opposed to the use of any poisons on properties, but especially on small properties such as ours.

I have not seen a single black rat since we moved over two years ago but have seen a few striped field-mice and suspect that there are also Cape spiny mice here. (The latter is a rare species found only in the Western Cape. It is on the international IUCN Red Data base as a threatened species.)

It would be wonderful if fumigation agencies could accept live-trapping as a successful way of removing problem rodents. In this way, they could release the good rodents while removing the bad.