Alberta's 'rat patrol' called in to exterminate rodents
Published Monday, August 20, 2012 9:29PM EDT
Alberta’s famous “rat patrol” team has been called in to help destroy rats discovered in a Medicine Hat landfill.
A total of 82 dead rats have been removed from the area since the first rodents were spotted in the landfill two weeks ago.
Another 16 rats were discovered in the city as of Monday afternoon.
The vermin discoveries have shaken Albertans, who’ve proudly boasted about living in a “rat-free” province since the 1950s.
Now, agricultural fieldmen known as the “rat patrol,” which has been eliminating rats along the province's eastern boundary, are scouring the landfill and its surrounding areas for the remainders of the rat colony. They are also studying the carcasses of the rodents that have already succumbed to local extermination efforts.
“No two rat colonies behave the same so (the fieldmen) will be able to come down and sharpen their skills and see how these rats behave compared to the rats they may have worked with in the past,” Medicine Hat's waste manager Ed Jollymore said.
However, the number of rats found each day is dropping, he said. It could be that rats are starting to avoid the poisonous traps set out for them or that their population is declining.
“There could be a number of reasons,” Jollymore said. “We hope the rat population is starting to die down.”
While killing rats is a priority, city workers are also feeding the rats in an effort to keep them comfortable and prevent them from spreading out in search of food.
“When the population gets to a certain point when the resources in the area cannot support that population anymore, then (the rats) will send out what’s essentially a scout to see if they can find another suitable location,” Cypress County agricultural fieldman Jason Storch told CTV Calgary.
In Calgary, there have been no new rat sightings since a dead rat was recently found in a southeast neighbourhood.
Calgary Animal Services said that rat could have arrived in the city on a truck or some other mode of transportation from another province.
However, officials say it was the sixth rat found in Calgary this year. Four of them turned out to be pet rats.
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Kevin Green