Landmine-sniffing rat Magawa of Cambodia, who found more than 100 landmines and explosives during a five-year career, has died at the age of 8, leaving a legacy of saved lives.
Magawa was the most successful “HeroRAT” deployed by international charity APOPO (non-profit organization), which uses African giant pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis.
According to APOPO statement, “Magawa was in good health and spent most of last week playing with his usual enthusiasm, but towards the weekend he started to slow down, napping more and showing less interest in food in his last days,”
Decades of civil war, Cambodia is one of the world’s most heavily land mined country, with more than 1,000 sq km (386 sq miles) of land still contaminated. Country is the highest number of disables, with more than 40,000 peoples lost limbs to mines explosives.
APOPO said Magawa’s contribution allowed communities in Cambodia to live, work, and play more safely.
“Every discovery he made reduced the risk of injury or death for the people of Cambodia,” APOPO said.
The African giant pouched rat also received a gold medal in 2020 from Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals for “lifesaving bravery and devotion to duty”.
Magawa was retired in June 2021 and was born in Tanzania. He moved to Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2016 to begin clearing mines.
“A HeroRAT is laid to rest,” APOPO said.