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Pigeons, rats... and other plagues at Barcelona

The city hall has just recognized that, in spite of all its efforts, it was unable to prevent the increasing of the pigeons, rats and tiger mosquito population and asked to all citizens to help them to control those plagues which affect the city.

For example, the number of pigeons has increasing from 180.000 in 1991 to 256.000 in 2008 and nowadays, there are 6000 animals by km² in the Ciutat Vella and Eixample districts which normally should be only 500 by km² - in 18 years, only 200.000 pigeons were captured.

So the agency of public health claims the collaboration of everyone to control and to diminish those populations.

They said that persons who feed them are the main cause and admitted that this problem has no solution in short term. At plaza catalunya, you can witness the problem since people throw them food bringing from their home or just by buying it to the small stands. At the end, it is the only way to take a picture surrounding by pigeons from the head to the feet.

The actual law doesn’t forbid to feed them but a sanction between 300 to 600 euros for dirtying public places and streets. The point is that the police find it difficult to “distinguish” between both conceptions.

This summer, the city hall has started a pilot test in the Sant Andreu and Nou Barris districts by distributing leaflets and informing the population of the prejudices to feed them after all, it is better to sensitize than to sanction someone.

About the tiger mosquitoes, it is not the priority since, after the first bite, the body will generate its own defenses and because the crop spraying will last few hours and limited effectiveness and also there are few of them for the moment.

The other most serious problem is the rat. This animal has extended its territory to the whole city, especially in tunnels and sewers. It is impossible to know exactly how many they are and since it is also impossible to kill them all, the city only tries to control its population and to avoid that they go outside.

Due to some works in the city like the new metro line L9 and the fast train AVE line, it pushes some rats to come out sometimes to enjoy the sun so don’t be surprised if you see one meanwhile visiting the city.

And I am not going to tell you about cockroaches who can reach the size of your thumb, particularly you may cross some in the Ciutat Vella district. Like rats, they are everywhere but the main difference is that they live in the streets and buildings instead to the underground.

After all and since long time ago, those animals have always share its life with us and like humans and other animals, they have their own role on this earth and in the alimentary chain.

September 1, 2009