Cambodia’s Magawa, The ‘Hero Rat’ Who Found Over 100 Landmines, Dies Aged 8

During his five-year career, Magawa found over 100 landmines and other explosives, making him Apopo's most successful hero rat to date.

Updated: January 12, 2022 3:47 PM IST

By Trending Desk | Edited by Ritu Singh

Magawa, The 'Hero Rat' Who Found Over 100 Landmines, Dies Aged 8
Magawa, The 'Hero Rat' Who Found Over 100 Landmines, Dies Aged 8

Viral News: Magawa, the mine-sniffing hero rat who won a gold medal for his mine-detection work in Cambodia, has died at the age of eight. According to a CNN report, African giant pouched rats found more than 100 landmines and other explosives during his service. He also became the first rat to be awarded the UK’s PDSA Gold Medal, which is the animal equivalent of the George Cross.

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Announcing the news on Tuesday, APOPO, APOPO, the mine-clearing non-governmental organization said: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that HeroRAT Magawa passed away peacefully this weekend. 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. Magawa had recently celebrated his birthday in November, reaching the grand old age of 8.”

During his five-year career, Magawa found over 100 landmines and other explosives, making him Apopo’s most successful hero rat to date, the release said. He managed to clear more than 225,000sq m of land – the equivalent of about 31 football pitches – and discovered 71 landmines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance, the charity previously said.

“All of us at APOPO are feeling the loss of Magawa and we are grateful for the incredible work he’s done,” the organisation said in a heartfelt tribute. “His contribution allows communities in Cambodia to live, work and play, without fear of losing life or limb.”

The rat was born and trained in Tanzania before his move to Cambodia in 2016. According to APOPO, rats’ intelligence and keen sense of smell, combined with their weight, which is too light to set off landmines, makes them ideal for the task. Notably, Cambodia is one of the world’s most heavily landmined countries, with more than 1,000 sq km of land still contaminated. The country has among the highest number of amputees per capita, with more than 40,000 people having lost limbs to explosives, Reuters reported.

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Published Date: January 12, 2022 3:45 PM IST

Updated Date: January 12, 2022 3:47 PM IST