Cambodia’s landmine-sniffing ‘hero’ rat dies

by BERNAMA / pic credit: APOPO

ANKARA – Cambodia’s “hero” mine-detecting rat named Magawa has died at the age of eight after serving for five years, the non-profit organisation APOPO said Tuesday.

APOPO is a Belgian organisation that trains African giant pouched rats to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that HeroRAT Magawa passed away peacefully this weekend,” Anadolu Agency reported the organisation said in a 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.”

During his career, Magawa found over 100 landmines and other explosives, making him APOPO’s “most successful HeroRAT to date,” it said.

“His contribution allows communities in Cambodia to live, work, and play; without fear of losing life or limb,” it added.

Magawa was awarded a PDSA Gold Medal in September 2020 – the highest award for gallantry an animal can receive, and he retired last year, being replaced by HeroRAT Ronin.

The African giant pouched rat was born in Tanzania in November 2013. After being trained by APOPO, he moved to Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2016 to begin his career, the report added.