RATS HAVE COLONISED a corner of a popular Hackney leisure space.
The wood created by the council on the southeastern edge of Haggerston Park has been overrun by rattus norvegicus since last year. Despite apparent population fluctuations, the rodents are now so entrenched they sometimes scuttle confidently in front of strollers.
The rats have not taken over other sections of the park, despite its being bordered conveniently with piles of logs placed there to encourage creatures as small as insects. What may be making the bijou wood so attractive to rats is that it is immediately adjacent to a city farm.
Hackney council told Loving Dalston: “It is an inevitable part of city life that rats and mice may occasionally be seen in our parks — in the bushes and undergrowth. If rat sightings are reported to us we take action appropriate to the area in question.
“Members of the public can help to reduce the attractiveness of areas to rats by not leaving food out for pigeons, squirrels or other wildlife.”
The council denied that poison was laid down in the wood last year 2017, or this year 2018. The town hall added that “baiting any area is illegal if there is a high risk of poisoning non-target species”.
When rats in other parks were reported, the council took “appropriate action”.
Still, dog-walkers who like to take their charges on the relaxing paths through the many trees should think about the danger of bites to pets from startled rats. The young Muslims who sometimes use the wood for risky assignations should also perhaps find another venue for their furtive yet innocent chats.
Hamish Scott 270718
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