Three young Wellington men are on a mission to tackle pest-infested flats by giving students free traps and rewarding them for kills.
Traplordz founders Tait Burge, 24, Hugo Reeve, 23, and Claudie Ramsden Bradley, 24, have just launched the initiative to help students and protect native birds.
On Saturday they delivered 13 traps to flats around the city, and tenants are now competing for monthly prizes like new clothes, coffee or New World vouchers depending on how many pests they catch.
"They simply report all their catches to us and we give prizes to keep everyone engaged. We've got a few clothing brands who have given us clothing to give away," Burge said.
Reeve said their idea was prompted by a passion for conservation and experiences at old flats.
"We used to have rats all through them but we didn't have the means to do anything about it.
"There's food scraps everywhere, rubbish left out so it's a natural place for them to go – it's bountiful.
"By eradicating pests in those flats they [birds] have a far more beneficial environment," he said.
Burge said little effort was put into educating and engaging students to fight pests.
"Student flats are highly populated areas," he said.
Predator Free Wellington were enabling them to help students by giving them free traps.
"We've got 40 traps ready to go now. We are hoping to trap rats, stoats and mustelids," he said.
Students who want to become a Traplord can contact them through Facebook to receive a trap pack, which has a modified Victor rat trap, a branded trap box that has a local artist's art work on the side of it.
"We've also got Pic's peanut butter sponsorship for the bait," he said.
Predator Free Wellington project director James Willcocks said the idea was fantastic.
"It's in line with what we are doing and it brings in a whole new audience – full respect to them.
"This is all linked to creating the world's first predator-free city. We need as many people to participate in these initiatives," he said.