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Rats may be returning to Alberta for the first time in over sixty years.

Steve Meddle

Alberta's rat-free status could be in jeopardy after more than a dozen Norway rats were discovered at a landfill in the southeast corner of the province.

Alberta Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson announced the discovery of the colony of 19 rats during a news conference Wednesday at the Medicine Hat regional landfill.

The rats were found on August 9 and all have been killed, but officials are worried there could be more.

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Alberta prides itself on being rat-free, and has only seen isolated cases of the pests since the 1950s.

Traps and infrared digital cameras have been set up at sites around the dump.

Olson says the province wants the rat discovery to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

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