Canada

Alberta winning war against vermin

For the past half-century, Alberta has been rat-free thanks to the dedication of special rat control officers.

The rich farmland of eastern Alberta is an ideal place for the furry rodents to thrive but they face people like John Bourne, leader of Alberta's rat patrol.

"It's kind of like a search and destroy," explains Bourne when he does find the odd rat. "The guile and the cunning of these animals is so just so remarkable. You just can't let your guard down."

Bourne is part of a proud history that dates back to 1950. That's when Alberta started killing rats. They'd been scurrying into the province from Saskatchewan and points east. But since the rat patrols, the vermin population in Alberta has gone from the thousands to practically none.

"There's no where else in the world where I can say, that I know of, that do not have rats. I think Albertans should be proud," says Shaffeek Ali who works in the Alberta Pest Prevention Unit.