Colony of rats found in rat-free Alberta

Aug. 16, 2012 at 1:01 AM

MEDICINE HAT, Alberta, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Alberta, a Canadian province that takes pride in being rat free, revealed Wednesday a colony of Norway rats had been found in the Medicine Hat landfill.

At a news conference, local and provincial officials said 19 rats have been killed at the landfill. An extermination company has set up bait stations and traps to eliminate the colony.

"We have lived without the menace of rats since 1950 when our control program began," Verlyn Olson, the provincial agriculture and rural development minister, said. "Occasionally, small infestations are found and we act quickly to isolate and eradicate them. We will be working closely with the City of Medicine Hat until this issue is resolved."

Medicine Hat is in southeastern Alberta, about 60 miles from the Montana border and even closer to Saskatchewan, suggesting the rats are migrants. Alberta is the only Canadian province with a plausible claim to be free of rats, the Sun said.

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