Wild animal-hurting rat traps to be curtailed

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Glue traps for rats will only be placed at spots with serious rodent infestations such as wet markets and refuse collection points, the Environment and Ecology Bureau said, as Kadoorie Farm has called on the government to stop using glue boards after it found that at least 25 wild animals have been hurt by the traps.

The farm said there has been "an alarming increase" in glue-trapped animals sent to its wildlife rescue center.

The farm listed the species of 25 birds it has found trapped, including oriental magpies, spotted doves, Chinese bulbuls, Daurian redstarts, Eurasian tree sparrows, Chinese pond herons, dusky warblers and blue whistling thrushes - all of which are protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance.

"Glue traps are inhumane and cause painful injuries and drawn-out deaths in rodents - the target - and in any wildlife that may also stumble across them," the farm said.

The farm hoped people will stop using glue boards as it called on the government to ban the use of such traps, citing that countries like Ireland and New Zealand have already prohibited its use.

"More ethical methods of rodent control include deploying sealed storage traps and removing food sources, alongside maintaining a tidy and hygienic environment to limit hiding spots for the rodents," the farm said.

In a reply to The Standard, the Environment and Ecology Bureau said glue boards are only being placed at venues with serious rodent infestations like public markets and refuse collection points.

"Rodents [reproduce rapidly]," the bureau said. "In order to protect citizens' health, the use of glue traps in places with a serious infestation is an important anti-rodent measure."

Authorities also said that glue boards are more effective compared to other anti-rodent traps.

In the first half of last year, less than five rodents were captured in Tai Shing Street Market in Wong Tai Sin using traditional cage traps, while intensive anti-rodent operations since August have caught an average of a dozen rats each month and around 30 rats were trapped monthly by using electromechanical devices.

This paled in comparison to an average of 469 rats captured each month by using glue boards.

The bureau said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department have guidelines on handling trapped rats in a humane way, including using glue boards only during night operations and having staff monitor the spot where the trap was placed.

Upon observation at public markets, The Federation of Hong Kong Kowloon New Territories Hawker Associations has voiced support for the use of glue traps due to its effectiveness.