TL, DR; NYC recently appointed Kathleen Corradi as the city’s first Rat Czar, who will be implementing a wide range of new strategies to mitigate the city’s unfortunate rodent problem. Kudos to Ms. Corradi!
Rattus norvegicus first landed in NYC over 250 years ago and their populations have flourished. Millions of brown rats have thoroughly enjoyed the city’s delicious pizza, trash disposal in the streets, and underground infrastructure for centuries. Global warming is also contributing to the increase in the rat population by increasing their reproductive rate.
And just as the humans of NYC were affected by the early pandemic shutdown of restaurants, so were those hungry rats! Stories about aggressive and destructive rodents were popping up in cities across the country. In early 2021, the Nerdy Girls spoke with a NYC rodentologist to get numbers about rat reporting during the prior two years (link to prior post).
The short-lived reduction in rat-sightings early in the pandemic did not persist and now these nocturnal and nimble creatures are back in full swing. In fact, Mayor Eric Adams, having repeatedly voiced his disdain for the critters, has stepped up his game and brought in a new rat czar. Kathleen Corradi brings the creative problem-solving skills one might expect from a former elementary school teacher, and proven experience reducing waste in school cafeterias. We love that she takes a structural view on the rat problem, describing it as “a symptom of systemic issues, including sanitation, health, housing, and economic justice. You can’t just deal with one part of the problem and call it a day.” We look forward to following her collaborative efforts to bring a range of stakeholders together for evidence-based strategies to coordinate waste management, green space, and transportation to reduce the rat population.
We’re rooting for you, Kathleen!
Here are a few related articles on NYC rats new Rat Czar:
NPR – NYC is waging a war against rats. Meet the woman leading the charge
MSN – New York’s ‘rat czar’ will only succeed if she realizes that rats are not the ‘enemy,’ an expert says
The Atlantic – NEW YORK’S RATS HAVE ALREADY WON