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Magawa the landmine detection rat given gold medal for bravery !

A landmine detection rat has been awarded a gold medal for his “lifesaving bravery and devotion to duty”.

Magawa, a giant African pouched rat, has discovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance in Cambodia since he was trained by charity APOPO. He is the charity’s most successful Hero Rat, having cleared more than 141,000 square metres of land – the equivalent of 20 football pitches.

Magawa has been formally recognised for his work and been presented with a miniature PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross. He is the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history to receive such an award. Christophe Cox, chief executive of APOPO, said: “To receive this medal is really an honour for us. I have been working with APOPO for over 20 years.

“Especially for our animal trainers who are waking up every day, very early, to train those animals in the morning. But also it is big for the people in Cambodia, and all the people around the world who are suffering from landmines. The PDSA Gold Medal award brings the problem of landmines to global attention.”

He said rats are intelligent and will work at repetitive tasks for food rewards better than other animals. Magawa is nearing retirement, but still able to search an area the size of a tennis court in just 30 minutes - a task which would take a human up to 4 days.

Let's honour Magawa's work and hope for a zero landmine future.


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