Cambodia: Lets meet landmine-detecting rat ‘Magawa’ who has saved countless lives
Meet Magawa, an African pouched rat who has long been a landmine detector rat. To date, the huge rat has unearthed 39 landmines and 28 unexploded munitions in Cambodia.
He learned his trade after a year of training with the organization APOPO. Magawa is the charity’s most successful rat, having cleared more than 141,000 square meters of land.
Magawa received the PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross, for his heroic actions in saving lives. Magawa is APOPO’s first-ever rat to win such an honor in the charity’s 77-year existence.
Christopher Cox, chief executive of APOPO, said, “To receive this medal is really an honor for us. I have been working with APOPO for over 20 years. Especially for our animal trainers who are waking up every day, very early, to train those animals in the morning. But also it is big for the people in Cambodia, and all the people around the world who are suffering from landmines. The PDSA Gold Medal award brings the problem of landmines to global attention.”
Rats, according to Cox, are intelligent animals. They will work harder than any other species on the planet to complete repetitious activities in exchange for goodies. Furthermore, because they are modest in size, they are less likely to be in danger when scouting a landmine-infested area.
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