The Times newspaper (Will Pavia) reports on New York City’s battle against the urban rat using a detection device designed by an Israeli which sends data back to a smart phone. They feel that there is a need to do something game changing in order to win the battle against the rat. Derek Adams, the mayor, has declared that he is a relentless foe of rodents. He has appointed a ‘rat czar’ to lead the city’s efforts to control them.
They don’t know why there’s a booming rat population but the rat czar that Adams appointed, Bobby Corrigan, said:
Rats are up all around the globe. I think it’s a confluence of several things, including that there’s more people, more density of people, and with more people there’s more trash. More trash means more food.”
He began studying urban rats in graduate school. At the time nobody was looking at the problem and he thought that it “was an open scientific frontier.”
He became known to be an expert in the field and inventors of rat trapping technology began sending him their devices. One came from Israel. He felt that it was a game changer. He tested it in warehouses and farms in Indiana which is where he was living at the time.
It is a rat sensor about the size of a shoebox. He feels that you need to know exactly where the rats are to get ahead of the game in dealing with them.
Rats, being night-time animals, can move into a park or around a school and no one’s going to know. We are already behind the eight ball. You could have a female who was in there and she’s had a litter.
The sensors that he has placed dotted around New York City provide an early warning system to enable the city to target control efforts.
For example, when they are placed around a park or a school, they can tell whether the rats are more numerous in areas to enable them to focus their attention there.
He envisages a network of about 500 rat detecting devices throughout Manhattan sending back information to a command center and each time a rat is detected the computers ping an alarm.
Eventually, personally, I would like to see a big command center where you have six people looking at computer screens all day long, like an airport control tower.
At the moment the alerts from the devices come to his phone 24/7 day and night. His wife takes the Mickey out of him about it. The lesson here is probably that the first war in the battle against rats is to detect them accurately to know where they are in real time.
Note: I have a soft spot for rats as they are such amazing survivors despite humankinds persistent efforts to eradicate them. I admire their survival skills. And I don’t believe in speciesism. I see all animals as equals. I don’t believe in the concept of pests and vermin. They are all trying to survive. Humans don’t like it when another species does a good job of surviving.