Wednesday, October 1st6.0°C
22738
22916

Rats romp around Paris

Rats are on the rampage in the elegant garden of the Louvre Museum, so bold they romp on the grass in broad daylight, defying death threats from sanitation workers and scaring tourists.

The hot weather in Paris has brought many picnicking visitors to the garden, whose garbage is a feast for the rats. And they're getting help from animal lovers who dig up poison and feed them water.

Maybe it's the "Ratatouille" effect, with the beloved French rat Remy from Disney's computer animated film helping real-life rats win Parisian hearts.

The vermin are finding a lifeline from "people who don't want us to kill animals," said Jean-Claude Ndzana Ekani, a museum employee who was working Tuesday with technicians from an extermination company,

The lush area which extends into the Tuileries Gardens gives a rat plenty of places to hide, but still the critters scamper about openly, unfazed by people strolling about.

The Louvre, which owns the garden, has been trying to combat the rat problem for months but clearly hasn't succeeded. In May, sanitation officials and exterminators decided to embark on an all-out offensive: "A decision was made to do a shock operation," Ndzana Ekani said. Workers, acting methodically, were seen Tuesday pouring poison down the rat holes.

It hasn't helped.

"I see about 10 or 15 (rats) every day," said Traore Massamba, 25, a maintenance worker. "There are a lot of people who come here to picnic and they leave their leftovers, so I think that attracts them."

Dutch tourist Evelyne Delemarre, 31, let out a scream after seeing a rat scamper by.

"I normally don't see any rats," she said. "They're not really clean animals."

No doubt Remy would be offended by such remarks.

But he might appreciate the goings on at the Louvre Garden. He was, after all, an escape artist of sorts — and in the end outdid his enemies.

Rodents have long made Paris their home. In 2000, mice were caught picnicking on the delicate pastries in the window of the luxury shop Fauchon. To the west of the capital, moles are an ever-present problem at the Palace of Versailles — which has its own mole-catcher.

Tourists may have to get used to an occasional rat scampering about the garden.

"We're doing everything we can. This is a recurring problem in all public gardens," Ndzana Ekani said. Given the size of the Louvre garden "we can't eradicate them."

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated and approval times may vary. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more World News




Recent Trending





21186

23172


23524



World Quick Links World Discussion Forum
United Nations
World Health Organization
UNESCO
World Trade Organization
NATO
European Union
The Commonwealth
Francophonie
Olympics
Google Earth


Member of BC Press Council


23287