Not All Rats
If the thought of rats make your skin crawl, this may not be for you but it could change your opinion on a different species of these pesky rodents.
The African Giant Pouched rat is trained by Apopo a Belgium-registered charity based in Tanzania which has been training these animals known as HeroRATs since the 1990s to detect landmines.
One rat is now retiring from his job of detecting landmines after 5-year career. Magawa has sniffed out 71 landmines and dozens more unexploded items in Cambodia. But there is still thought to be op to six million landmines in the South East Asian country.
Magawa’s handler Malen has said ‘Magawa’s performance has been unbeaten, and I have been proud to work side-by-side with him. Stating he has also saved many lives and returning much needed land back to the people.
Apopo has said a new batch of young rats had been assessed by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and have all passed with flying colours. Magawa will stay on as a mentor for a few weeks to get the new recruits settle in.
Magawa has also been awarded the PDSA Gold Medal, sometimes described as the George Cross for animals. He is the first Rat to be given the medal in the charity’s 77-year history.
Magawa is capable of searching a field the size of tennis court in just 20 minutes, something that would take a human with a metal detector up to 4 days.