Rat patrol beefed up as more than 75 rats killed in Medicine Hat landfill

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 20, 2012 in Rat News | Subscribe

Recruits for the rat battle in Medicine Hat are arriving there today as more than 75 vermin have been killed at the area’s infested landfill.

Three more Alberta rat patrollers from Vermilion River, Wainright and Bonnyville are being brought in to help destroy the massive burrow discovered at the southeastern Alberta landfill last week.

It is estimated there are hundreds of rats nesting there, threatening Alberta’s claims of rat-free status.

“The team is en route and it will be a day of data collection and reviewing,� said Ed Jollymore, Medicine Hat’s waste manager.

“Tomorrow we’ll be getting to the meat of it.�

As of Monday morning, patrollers say poison bait traps have killed more than 75 rats.

Others have likely crawled back into the burrow and died there, officials say. Hundreds of rats are estimated to be nesting in the dump.

Experts have surrounded the dump and neighbouring rural properties with poisoned bait traps. There was a worry that the highly adaptable pests would wise up and learn to avoid the traps. But so far, that’s not the case, Jollymore said.

“The rats are continuing to die, which is good. They are still eating bait which is favourable,� he said.

Widespread publicity about the rat infestation is helping, Jollymore said.

“There’s a real public awareness. People are looking for them now.�

Officials are still scratching their heads wondering how the colony formed. Sightings of single rats began last spring.

Infrared cameras and poisoned bait traps surround the landfill and neighbouring farms.

Meanwhile, officials in Calgary say there have been no local sightings of rats in the same neighbourhood a dead rat was found in Friday.

A secondary search in the southeast suburb of Auburn Bay turned up no other rats and no evidence of rat activity, officials say. The area will continue to be monitored.

It was the sixth rat found in the city this year. In the spring, four pet rats were reported and one was found dead in a truck, officials say.

Up to half a dozen rats are discovered in Calgary each year. The majority are brought in as pets, which are forbidden in Alberta.

Alberta has been following a rat eradication program since the 1950s.

The province, which spends $350,000 a year on its rat-control program, has 11 rat inspectors who patrol the border with Saskatchewan.

Six counties and municipal districts participate in the patrol of the rat-control zone, which is 30 kilometres wide and stretches 390 km from the Montana border to Cold Lake.

Despite the efforts, rodents carried in cargo containers, and some bought by pet owners as snake food, show up in Alberta frequently, officials say.

All suspected rat sightings should be reported to 3-1-1 or the Alberta Rat Patrol’s toll-free number: 403-310-3276.


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