- A rat with impressive landmine sniffing abilities was awarded with a gold medal for saving a lot of lives.
One bomb-sniffing rat has finally risen to break the ‘rat stereotypes.’
Meet Magawa, a giant African pouched rat who was recently awarded with a Gold Medal for being a hero.
And this is not a joke.
It is one of the United Kingdom’s leading charity which started as a free veterinary clinic in 1917 and has honored heroic animals since 1943.
The charity’s Gold Medal has been awarded since 2002 to honor the unbelievable bravery of animals in civilian service. All the recipients of this Gold Medal before are dogs, and Magawa is the first-ever rat to receive this honor.
And since this is true news, after all, the question is, what heroic act did Magawa do to receive such a high honor from a respected charitable institution?
Well, it turns out that Magawa has just accomplished something really BIG.
The Bomb-sniffing Rat That Saved Thousands of Lives
Magawa isn’t just any ordinary rat; it was specifically trained to locate deadly landmines left by previous wars and conflicts.
The heroic rat has already located 39 land mines and 28 items related to these deadly materials in its seven years in service in Cambodia.
To give you another perspective, Magawa has already covered 141,000 square meters of land, which is more or less equivalent to 20 soccer fields!
Working With Human Pals
The rat works with its human companions to constantly hone its skills in locating deadly materials buried under the land.
APOPO, a Belgian organization, is behind Magawa’s success in locating landmines in Cambodia which saved a lot of lives there.
In fact, the organization has been training rats on locating unexploded weapons for more than 20 years.
Rats are currently the “holy grail” of landmine detection because they can walk across minefields and locate bombs without even triggering it. Also, they can accomplish the task of locating these deadly objects much faster than humans.
Though various rodents can be trained to detect specific scents, the organization decided to narrow down on African pouched rats.
Because this type of rodent is equipped with natural traits to accomplish landmine missions because of its African origins. Also, these rodents have a lifespan of up to eight years which enables them to serve the organization for a longer time compared to other rats.
The organization works with programs in Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Angola to reach its aim of locating and clearing landmines in various parts of the world.
And it’s fascinating to know that rats are the frontliners in this very risky mission.
That is why APOPO’s chief executive, Christophe Cox, was very proud of what Magawa has achieved.
According to him, it’s not only an honor for the rodent, but also for the people who tirelessly trained Magawa and other rats to save other people’s lives.
If there is one other good thing that came out from Magawa’s Gold Medal is it brought the risks of landmines to everybody’s attention.
People should be aware that landmines have caused irreversible damage to countless people in various parts of the world. It not only causes serious injuries but also claims a lot of lives.
May Magawa’s honor be a good start to gather more attention and support to free the world from the dangers of deadly landmines.
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