“RIP to Heroes“: Cambodia’s landmine-sniffing rat died | DayDayNews Weapons News

The medal-winning Ma Chuan sniffed out more than 100 mines and explosives during his five-year career.

Mine-sniffing rodent Magawa, who found more than 100 mines and explosives in Cambodia and was awarded a Hero Medal, has died at the age of eight, according to the charity that trained him.

Ma Chuan, who retire Last June, passed away over the weekend, the international nonprofit APOPO announced Tuesday.

APOPO said in a statement: “Magawa is in good health and played with his usual enthusiasm for most of the last week, but by the end of the week he started to slow down, nap more and show less interest in food.”

After decades of civil war, Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, with more than 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) of land still contaminated.

Belgium-based APOPO trains African giant kangaroos to detect landmines, calling them “HeroRATs”.

Using mice to sniff out mines reduces the danger to human operators who must disarm and remove weapons.

“All at APOPO feel the loss of Magawa, and we thank him for his incredible work,” the organization said in its heartfelt tribute. “His contributions have enabled Cambodian communities to live, work and play without fear of losing life or limb.”

Three Cambodians who were clearing landmines were killed on Monday in a province bordering Thailand, illustrating the extreme risks involved.

Heng Ratana, director general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, said three people from the Cambodian self-help demining team were killed by the explosion of an anti-tank mine and two others were injured.

In 2020, Magawa won the gold medal From the People’s Pharmacy for Sick Animals in the UK for “life-saving bravery and devotion to duty” – the first rat to receive the award.

Magawa was born in Tanzania and was brought to Siem Reap, Cambodia, in 2016 to start demining.

“The hero rests in peace,” Apopo said.

Ma Chuan stood on his hind legs to take refreshments from the fingers of his animal trainer as he hunted for landmines in a field in CambodiaMagawa, an African giant kangaroo, was given a treat while detecting landmines in Cambodia. [File: PDSA via AFP]