This rat is a hero, and has won awards for his heroism!
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. And just as in the film Ratatouille as chef Gusteau says, “Anybody can cook,” so can anybody be a hero. Even a rat!
Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, was given a gold medal by the British veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) for his work detecting undetonated landmines in Cambodia.
As the country has been littered with millions with land mines after decades of conflicts, Magawa helps the nation in detecting them.
Magawa was trained by non-governmental organization APOPO (which in Dutch stands for “Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling,” or in English, Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development). The organization, which was founded in Belgium and is headquartered in Tanzania, trains rats like Magawa to detect the scent of the explosive chemicals used in landmines and point them out to their handlers.
Magawa is larger than an average pet rat but still not big enough to blow up a land mine. In seven years, he has discovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance, helping clear more than 141,000 square meters (nearly 35 acres) of land, according to PDSA — making him the charity’s best performing rat.