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Like many of the Earth's problems, fixing the rat issue in Wellington hinges on finding the right way to motivate people to change their behavior.
You may think rats are a problem where you live, but in Wellington, New Zealand, they are CLIMBING TREES AND RAIDING BIRDS' NESTS.
Yeah, I know. You'd get creative too.
Rats in Wellington are so bad that they are being held responsible for the extinction of nine native bird species. They are destroying forests. It's crazy.
So anyway, what to do. The Victoria University of Wellington Science Society Department had an idea: give free beer to any student who kills a rat.
(Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images)
(Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP/Getty Images)
According to The Independent, here's how the campaign works:
"The university provides the traps to students to help them catch the rats. Once caught, the student can head into the campus pub, The Hunters Lounge and exchange the dead rat for a beer voucher."
There's even a Facebook page called "Beer Trap" to get students psyched.
Gareth Morgan, one of the masterminds behind the campaign, told Vice magazine that the state has an effective trapping program in public space, but the issue is in private areas.
"They can’t just walk in and start trapping in the backyards of various people’s house," he said.
So, they started thinking about ways to get the community involved, particularly students, and decided that "the best way to incentivize them would be to get them a free drink. They are students after all."
What about the problem of replacing one problem with another? Trading terrifying, tree-climbing rats for drunk college kids with terrible judgment and a penchant for animal killing?
Morgan doesn't think it's an issue.
"I don’t think anyone’s going to catch that many rats," he told Vice. "No one’s going to catch 10 rats and go to the Hunter Lounge and get sloshed."
No, no one's going to do that unless you make it a drinking game.
(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)