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Published: 12:52, April 13, 2023 | Updated: 17:09, April 13, 2023
Rodents beware: New York City hires first 'rat czar'
By Reuters
Published:12:52, April 13, 2023 Updated:17:09, April 13, 2023 By Reuters

New York Mayor Eric Adams (left) introduces Kathleen Corradi (center) as the city's first-ever citywide director of rodent mitigation, also known as the "rat czar," in New York, April 12, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

New York City's unending war on rats has a new commanding general.

Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday announced that Kathleen Corradi, an education department employee, has been appointed New York’s first-ever "rat czar," part of Adams’ effort to combat a growing rodent population in the county’s most populous city.

“You’ll be seeing a lot of me - and a lot less rats,” Corradi, whose official title is “citywide director of rodent mitigation,” said at a news conference. “There’s a new sheriff in town.”

Adams, who has often expressed a deep hatred for rats, posted the job last year, seeking someone "somewhat bloodthirsty" with a "general aura of badassery" and offering an annual salary between $120,000 and $170,000.

A rat runs across a sidewalk in the snow in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, Dec 2, 2019. (PHOTO / REUTERS)

In recent months, Eric Adams' administration has limited the number of hours that trash bags can sit on sidewalks awaiting pickup and launched a curbside composting program intended to reduce food waste

Corradi, a former teacher, is not new to the fight against rats. She previously oversaw rat mitigation efforts in the city’s public schools.

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Rat sightings have jumped in recent years, according to city data. Some officials have said the proliferation of sidewalk dining – a concession to the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the city’s restaurants – contributed to the problem.

The size of the city’s rat population is unknown. A 2014 study put the figure at around 2 million, or one for every four residents.

Adams has implemented other measures aimed at what he called New York’s “No 1 enemy.”

In recent months, his administration has limited the number of hours that trash bags can sit on sidewalks awaiting pickup and launched a curbside composting program intended to reduce food waste.

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But the brown rat, which likely arrived in New York sometime during the Revolutionary War era, has proven a crafty adversary, thriving despite numerous attempts to eradicate it from the city’s warrens of subway tunnels and alleyways.

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