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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024

Heat's on as tasty bait set for rats

Authorities have adopted a more efficient anti-rodent approach by using heat-detecting cameras and delicious rat bait such as barbecue pork and squid to catch more than 900 rats in San Hui, Tuen Mun in three months last year, Sing Tao Probe has found.
San Hui used to be an area with severe rodent infestation, as some alleys in the area were stacked with garbage and construction waste, which invited rats to habituate.

"My shop had suffered from rodent infestation for more than half a year, and I had to store my goods in plastic boxes at night, so that the rats could not reach them," said Wong, a shop owner in the district.

During the three-month strategic anti-rodent action by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, which began in October, the department installed heat-detecting cameras in alleyways in San Hui to identify area where rats most frequented.

The cameras operated at night and took photos every two seconds based on heat detection. It captures images showing active rats in certain areas, all based on heat.

The department's staff then placed bait, cages and rat poison at those spots to kill or trap rats overnight and collect them in the morning. The most popular bait that the department used included barbecued pork, roasted squid, and sweet potatoes.

"Rats in different districts have their own preferences. In San Hui, rats are pickier as they enjoy good foods from San Hui Market, and only foods such as barbecued pork and roasted squid could attract them into the cages," said the FEHD's deputy director Arsene Yiu Kai-cheuk.

As a result, the department had successfully caught 900 rats in San Hui from October to December last year, among them, 594 were caught alive and 306 were found dead.

Besides catching rats, the FEHD also proactively cleared the garbage and waste stacked in alleys.

The activities of the rodents detected by the cameras fell significantly by 90 percent during the period, from 876 times in September to 86 times in December last year. The strategy had been adopted in some 80 rodent infestation blackspots across Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the FEHD had caught 9,247 rats alive and killed 5,363 across Hong Kong between January and February this year.

The department said that the anti-rodent work is long-term, and that it would launch another round in April in concentrated areas where rodent infestation repeatedly breaks out.

It hopes that the number of rodent-infested blackspots, which stands at around 100, could be reduced by half by the end of this year, according to the FEHD.

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