Hero rat Magawa awarded medal for heroism for sniffing out landmines

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Magawa, the rat was awarded a gold medal for his heroism after sniffing out 71 landmines and 38 unexploded items in Cambodia. The seven-year-old African giant pouched rat is retiring from his job.

Over the past five years he has helped clear over 225,000 square meters of land, helping to make communities safe.

According to the Belgium charity Apopo, who trained Magawa, the furry hero is “slowing down.” He grew up at APOPO’s Training and Research center in Tanzania where he learned how to find explosives using his acute sense of smell. Magawa then moved to Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2016, where he began his five-year career.

Malen, Magawa’s handler stated:

Magawa’s performance has been unbeaten, and I have been proud to work side-by-side with him. He is small but he has helped save many lives allowing us to returns much-needed safe land back to our people as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. But he is slowing down, and we need to respect his needs. I will miss working with him!”

More than 60 million people living in 59 countries from Cambodia to Zimbabwe live in fear of landmines left over from violent past conflicts. Clearing minefields by the HeroRATs have saved the lives of countless citizens. Clearing the mines is dangerous and tedious work; the APOPO’s detection animals increase efficiency and trim the costs of the difficult task.

Last September, veteran Magawa was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal and is the first rat in the charity’s history to be honored along with a long line of dogs, horses, pigeons and a cat.

“Join this organization to show support and solidarity with all those affected by landmines, and those working towards a Landmine Free 2025. Help us raise three months’ demining costs in three weeks! We’re a non-profit and every bit helps.”

Click here for more information and how to donate.

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