22-man team battles Bukit Batok rat infestation

22-man team battles Bukit Batok rat infestation
Men from Star Pest Control, engaged by the Jurong Town Council, comb the area with ropes secured to the top of the slope for safety during the operation to exterminate rats that have infested the slope next to Bukit Batok MRT.

Watching dozens of rats scampering around might make some squeamish, even if it is only on video.

But for these men, picking up rats with their hands is all in a day's work.

Star Pest Control has been engaged by the Jurong Town Council to exterminate rats that have infested the slope next to Bukit Batok MRT.

Mr Bernard Chan, the general manager of Star Pest Control, said a 22-man team was formed to tackle the problem.

"We have put bait with poison at the burrows, which will hopefully lure them," he said.

"The process will take about three to five days."

The team began operations at 8am yesterday, cordoning off the slope facing the station.

Rope was tied to the top of the slope for safer movement up and down.

At 1pm, when Mr Chan had just finished briefing the team, a rat appeared near them in a rubbish collection area.

Immediately, the team leapt into action, cornering the rat.

An officer grabbed the rat with his hands, dumping it into a cage. A good start, but there is still much more work to be done.

"The infestation covers about half a football field. We will launch a search and destroy operation when they come out," said Mr Chan, who has been in the business for more than 10 years.

He declined to reveal how many burrows and rats there are.

"From what we've gathered, the rats are rather well spread out in the area. There are many burrows, but we cannot get to the nest, which is deep in the ground," he said.

At 6pm, another round of poison-laced bait was placed by the team.

When the rats finally came out, large nets were used to capture them.

AGGRESSIVE

Mr Chan said that the rats are a problem as they become more aggressive and they may migrate to other areas if their population continues to grow.

"There is no point destroying the burrows because they will just dig new ones," he said.

By 10pm yesterday, they had captured more than 40 rats.

After assessing the situation, Mr Chan said they would stop for the night.

A joint statement was released by the Housing Development Board, National Environment Agency, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore and Jurong Town Council. (See other report.)

The statement said the infestation was caused by the feeding of stray dogs in the area and that the rat problem could only be resolved by not feeding the dogs.

As for the captured rats, their fate has been sealed.

Mr Chan said: "We will kill them the fastest way we know. We will break their necks."

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