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Canadian province on red alert against rats

world Updated: Oct 03, 2009 13:06 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

Canada's Alberta province is on red alert against rats. Rat patrols have been set up to check intrusion of the rodents from neighbouring Saskatchewan province.

Farmers have been mobilised to keep the province rat-free. Special baits with the help of old tyres have been set up to stop the rats from entering the province. Bags of poisoned grain have been placed inside these baits.

Steps have also been taken to stop the rats from taking rides in cattle-feed-laden vehicles coming into the province.

The red alert followed after a rat was nabbed in Calgary city. The rodent managed to hitch a long ride from Saskatchewan province where a town named Swift Current has reported an infestation the rodents.

Alberta's department of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked farmers to bait their green feed and straw bales every six metres to trap rats. They have also been instructed to ensure that rats don't hitchhike into Alberta on equipment or bales.

Rob Pulyk, a member of the province's rat patrol, said they have not found any rodent yet entering their border.

"I have been out to 35 farms along the border, and other municipalities have also been keeping watch. We have still got the rest of October so it is important to keep watching for signs of an unwanted visitors,'' he told Canwest news agency.

"We don't have rats here so people have never seen one. I had one lady call who said she had followed this thing around with her cell phone taking pictures. When she sent them to me it turned out to be muskrat (a fat rodent with ringed tail),'' he said.

People have been asked to call rat patrols if they spot a rodent or their nesting area.