April 4, 2016 - TRG
Bounty for killing rats

The authorities of Peshawar (North-Western Pakistan) announced a bounty for killing rats. The rat infestation has become such a big problem that the authorities cannot longer ignore the complaints from the residents. Specially after an eight year old boy died after being bitten by a rat.

Group of rats packed together in a corner © The Rat Gazette - Photo: Arjan Schuitman

The chosen solution is simple. For each killed rat a bounty of 25 PKR is paid (23 US cents, 20 Euro cents). For 25 PKR you can buy locally about 200 grams of rice.
Let's hope for the people from Peshawar this bounty is not an encouragement for entrepreneurs to start breeding rats to earn some extra and easy money.

Cobra effect

This is what actually happened in Vietnam in 1903. To control the rat infestation the authorities paid money for each rat tail that was handed in. Local businessmen captured the rats, cut the tails and released them back so they could reproduce and more rats were available to cut the tails from. The bounty was stopped after it became clear that the rat problem did not decrease and it was noticed that so many rats had no tail.
The first report of this phenomenon is from India before 1900. Poisonous Cobra snakes were a danger for the farmers and villagers. A bounty was rewarded for each cobra that was killed. People started to breed cobra snakes to sell them to the authorities. Once this was discovered the bounty system was stopped and the snakes became worthless and were released n the wild making the snake problem even worse as it was before.

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