Student chooses rat infestation on campus as study topic

A student has drawn attention to the unhealthy conditions at her university by choosing to carry out an ‘Evaluation of the rat population within the Antsiranana University campus’ as the research project for her bachelor degree.

Nadia Rasoanantenaina, who is studying biodiversity management and protection of the environment, had to look no further than her own university, reported Midimadagasikara, which quoted her as defining the main aim of her research as “describing the current situation of the rat population on the campus … These rodents ravage equipment and food”.

“I see rats everywhere I go, so I said to myself: why not make this a subject for a bachelor’s thesis?” Midimadagasikara quoted her as saying. “I devised a system which seemed efficient, organised as follows: I catch the rats at random, mark them with a ring or with a spot of colour. Then, afterwards, if I catch them again, I calculate the ratio of marked animals.”

The environment was deteriorating in the university’s old buildings, reported Midimadagasikara, which described the students’ dormitories as “unhealthy, small and cramped”, and as having become “colonies of rodents”.

Audacity was the motivation of ambition, and Rasoanantenaina had put aside fear in order to get her degree, having to pick up the pests with her bare hands. This was not easy. It was a bitter conclusion – the omnivorous nibblers had become domesticated at the university; this was a major problem which the authorities must deal with, as soon as possible, commented the newspaper.

The students complained, but they were also responsible – was it necessary to remind them that cleanliness was allied to health? asked Midimadagasikara. The living quarters were a mess, and it was common to find the rodents’ toothmarks in notepads and books.

And not only rats, but cockroaches also inhabited the dusty buildings of the university village, said the newspaper, which expressed the hope that Rasoanantenaina’s research would raise the awareness of the authorities, and especially of the university’s 3,000 students. — Compiled by Jane Marshall.

This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.