Landmine-sniffing ‘hero rat’ dies – Action News Now

Rodent’s bravery has led to the discovery of more than a hundred explosives and the clearing of 225,000 square meters of land in Cambodia


A giant African kangaroo named Magawa was awarded a medal for discovering 78 landmines and 38 pieces of unexploded ordnance in Cambodia at the age of 8.

The news was shared earlier this week by APOPO, a demining NGO that trains mice to detect landmines.


“Magawa was in good shape and played as enthusiastically as usual for most of the last week, but at the weekend he started to slow down, nap more and show less interest in food in the final days,” he said. it said, adding that the creature had “Died peacefully.”

This “Hero Rat” Already done “incredible work” Over the years, this has helped “Communities in Cambodia can live, work and play without fear of losing life or limb,” Apopo pointed out.


In 2020, this work saw Magawa receive a gold medal from UK veterinary charity The People’s Sick Animal Pharmacy. This is the highest award for heroism an animal can receive.

The legendary rat was born in 2013 at the Sokoyne Agricultural University in Tanzania, where APOPO has a training center. There, Magawa was taught to detect mines by the smell of chemicals present in them.

At the age of three, the rodent was sent to Cambodia, which is still riddled with landmines after years of internal and external conflict from 1975 to 1988. Buried explosives have injured tens of thousands and greatly limited the amount of land available.

Magawa’s managers have consistently praised his extraordinary stamina, which allows him to cover an area larger than his mine-detecting mice each day.


During his career, he discovered more than a hundred explosives, which resulted in the declaration of 225,000 square meters of land mine-free. The star of many news stories over the years, he retired from active duty last June.

African giant kangaroos have become perfect mine detectors, as they make up for their poor eyesight with their excellent sense of smell and memory. Not only are they less expensive to train than service dogs, but they weigh between 1.0 and 1.4kg and are so lightweight that they won’t detonate a mine when stepped on them.

They can search an area the size of a tennis court in 30 minutes, while people using metal detectors often take days to do the same job.

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