New York and the Year of the Rat
New York City is famous for many reasons, but two that top the list are its world class food and its indestructible rats. The city has even appointed a “rat czar” in its relentless campaign to wipe out all traces of the long-tailed rodents, or at least reduce them to a livable number.
Some residents are optimistic about the current approach, a variant of “integrated pest management” that uses several effective techniques in combination with one another. This more comprehensive approach does include pesticides, but also employs public education, infrastructure improvements, employee training, and psychology.
The new credo in the city is to think like a rat. Residents are told to secure trash, because rats are motivated, just like us, to procure some of the world’s finest cuisine. Yet, any food leavings are okay, too.
“New York’s rats are diabolically clever,” said Robert M. Corrigan, a rodentologist who has long advised the city. “It’s an opportunist, and it’s not fussy.”
Since before there were mayors, there were rats. And each administration comes up with a new plan to wipe out the rodents. So far, in the midst of tourists and Broadway shows and subway riding locals, the rats live on.
Last week, the New York City budget was settled, and 2.9 million is written in for rat control. This mayor, Bill DeBlasio, is optimistic that his administration will win the war on the rat.