Magawa, the landmine

Magawa, the well-known mine-clearing rat who was awarded a gold medal for his heroism, has died on the age of eight.

In a five-year profession, the rodent sniffed out over 100 landmines and different explosives in Cambodia.

Magawa was probably the most profitable rat educated by the Belgian charity Apopo to alert human handlers in regards to the mines to allow them to be safely eliminated.

The charity stated the African big pouch rat "handed away peacefully" on the weekend.

It stated Magawa was in good well being and "spent most of final week taking part in together with his common enthusiasm". However by the weekend "he began to decelerate, napping extra and displaying much less curiosity in meals in his final days".

Bred in Tanzania, Magawa underwent a yr of coaching earlier than transferring to Cambodia to start his bomb-sniffing profession. There are regarded as as much as six million landmines within the South East Asian nation.

Skilled to detect a chemical compound throughout the explosives, Magawa cleared greater than 141,000 sq. metres (1,517,711 sq ft) of land – the equal of 20 soccer pitches.

He weighed 1.2kg (2.6lb) and was 70cm (28in) lengthy. Whereas that’s far bigger than many different rat species, Magawa was nonetheless sufficiently small and lightweight sufficient that he didn’t set off mines if he walked over them.

Magawa was able to looking a discipline the dimensions of a tennis courtroom in simply 20 minutes – one thing Apopo says would take an individual with a metallic detector between one and 4 days.

In 2020, Magawa was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal – typically described because the George Cross for animals – for his "life-saving devotion to obligation". He was the primary rat to be given the medal within the charity's 77-year historical past.

The rat retired final June, after "slowing down" as he reached previous age.

"All of us at Apopo are feeling the lack of Magawa and we’re grateful for the unimaginable work he's carried out," the charity stated in an announcement.

His "superb sense of scent" allowed "communities in Cambodia to reside, work, and play; with out concern of dropping life or limb", it added.

Apopo has been elevating its animals – generally known as HeroRATs – to detect landmines for the reason that Nineties.

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