by Lian Kolirin | CNN
Magawa, the “hero rat” whose work sniping landmines in Cambodia earned him the Medal for Life-Saving Bravery, has died at the age of 8.
The African giant pouched rat received more than 100 landmines and other explosives during his service, according to APOPO, the mine-clearing non-governmental organization that trained him.
His work won him a gold medal from the British veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals in 2020.
Announcing the news on Tuesday, APOPO 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 last week He spent most of his time playing with his usual enthusiasm, but towards the weekend he began to slow down, take more naps and show less interest in food in his last days.Magawa had recently celebrated his birthday in November, who had reached the age of 8.
The tribute noted that Magawa has “left a lasting legacy in the lives he saved,” adding: “We at APOPO are all feeling Magawa’s loss and we are grateful for the incredible work he has done.” “
The organization said Magawa, who retired last year, is APOPO’s most successful “Hero Rat” to date.
“Their contributions allow communities in Cambodia to live, work and play; without fear of losing life or limb,” APOPO said.
African Giant Pouched Rats are intelligent and easy to train – Magawa started training from a young age.
APOPO said he was born in November 2013 at Sokoin University of Agriculture in Tanzania, where he learned to find explosives using his amazing smell. Three years later he moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where he began his career.
APOPO trains rats to detect the smell of explosive chemicals used in landmines and indicate them to their handlers.
Magawa’s work has helped the organization clear more than 225,000 square meters of land in Cambodia, where decades of conflict have left the landscape with dangerously unexplained equipment.