Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Medal winner Magawa has sniffed out more than 100 landmines and explosives during his five-year career.

Magawa, the landmine sniffer rodent that found more than 100 landmines and explosives in Cambodia and won a medal for heroism, died at the age of eight, according to the charity that trained him.

Done, who retired died in June last year, over the weekend, the international non-profit organization APOPO announced on Tuesday.

“Magawa was in good health and played most of last week with his usual enthusiasm, but by the weekend he was starting to slow down, showing more nap and less interest in food in his last days,” APOPO said in a statement. said.

Cambodia, marked by decades of civil war, is one of the world’s most heavily exploited countries, with more than 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) of land still contaminated.

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

Using the rats to sniff out the mines makes it less dangerous for the human handlers who have to disarm and remove the weapons.

“All of us at APOPO feel the loss of Magawa and we are grateful for the incredible work he has done,” the organization said in a sincere tribute. “His contribution allows communities in Cambodia to live, work and play, without fear of losing lives or limbs.”

To illustrate the extreme risks involved, three Cambodians working to clear mines were killed Monday in a province bordering Thailand.

The three from the Cambodia Self-Help Demining group were killed by explosion of tank mines, which also injured two others, said Heng Ratana, director general of the Cambodian Mining Action Center.

In 2020, Magawa was honored with a gold medal from the UK-based People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals for “life-saving bravery and dedication to duty” – the first rat to receive the award.

Magawa was bred in Tanzania and was brought to Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2016 to start cleaning mines.

“A hero is being laid to rest,” APOPO said.

Magawa stands on his hind legs to take a snack from his handler's fingers as he works to find landmines in a field in CambodiaMagawa, a giant rat from Africa, gets a treat while detecting landmines in Cambodia at work. [File: PDSA via AFP]

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