Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stelmach's Rats Desert

Alberta is the only rat free province in Canada. And we intend to keep it that way, thanks to the unelected and unpopular Eddie Stelmach.

The rats are deserting the sinking ship of state.

Clint Dunford Decides to Pack it In

Red Deer's Victor Doerksen Packs it In!

The only rat-free zones in the world are the Arctic, the Antarctic, some especially isolated islands, the province of Alberta in Canada, and certain conservation areas in New Zealand.

Alberta is unusual in that rat infestation was prevented by deliberate government action.

Although it is a major agricultural area and has a fairly high human population density, it is far from any seaport and only a portion of its eastern boundary with Saskatchewan provides a favorable entry route for rats. They cannot survive in the boreal forest to the north, the Rocky Mountains to the west, nor the semi-arid High Plains of Montana to the south.

The first rat did not reach Alberta until 1950, and in 1951 the province launched an extremely aggressive rat-control program that included shooting and poisoning rats, and bulldozing, burning down, and blowing up rat-infested buildings. In the first year of the program 64 tonnes of arsenic trioxide was spread in 8,000 buildings (8 kg/building) on 2,700 farms along the Saskatchewan border. Fortunately, in 1953 the much less toxic and more effective poison Warfarin was introduced, and since then the control program has consumed between 5 and 13 tonnes of Warfarin annually.

By 1960 the number of rat infestations in Alberta had dropped below 200 per year and has remained low ever since Any wild rat population is eliminated by the government Rat Patrol immediately after it is detected. The effort is aided by hundreds of pest control officers and thousands of local citizens, who will not tolerate the introduction of rats.

The laws regarding rats are draconian and firmly enforced. Only zoos, universities, and research institutes are allowed to own caged rats, and possession of an unlicensed rat (including pet rats) is punishable by a $5,000 fine or 60 days in jail. The adjacent and similarly landlocked province of Saskatchewan initiated a rat control program in 1963, and has managed to reduce the number of rats in the province substantially.

We are also facing the extinction of Ord's Kangaroo Rat, but it is not a rat, nor a kangaroo, nor is it a Tory.

But like other Albertans it too is suffering at the hands of the Tories and their Big Oil Pals.

Kangaroo rats feared hopping toward oblivion

The kangaroo rats of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta are disappearing along with the sand dunes they call home, researcher Darren Bender says.

The Ord's kangaroo rat, as the furry rodent is more formally known, most resembles a gerbil, but with larger hind legs and a longer tail. It hops around like a tiny kangaroo.

With fewer than 1,000 kangaroo rats left, it is a prime candidate for the country's endangered species list, said Bender, a biologist with the University of Calgary.

The sand dunes the animal needs to live are threatened by human development, such as resource exploration, as well as natural erosion, he told CBC News Wednesday.

Ord's Kangaroo Rat

Recovery Team Update (94.0K, PDF format)
Alberta Ord's Kangaroo Rat Recovery Plan 2005 (447 KB PDF format)

Like the poor Kangaroo Rat, Stelmach's Tories have become an endangered species.

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