Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A Retirement

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Biodiversity, Wildlife, Nature, Behavior

Ed Hessler

Magawa is a seven-year-old African giant pouched rat  (Cricetomys gambianus) who was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal for sniffing out "71 landmines and dozen more unexploded items in Cambodia." His early education in mine detecting was at the "Belgium-registered charity Apopo in Tanzania in their HeroRATS progam. He received his certificate after a year of training.

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) has welcomed new replacements and his handler, Malen said "'Magawa's performance has been unbeaten, and I have been proud to work side-by-side with him."

The BBC report includes details on his size--just right to not trigger an explosiion, the details of his George Cross medal and his search capabilities. What would take a person with a metal detector between one and four days to search a tennis court sized field, Magawa can do in 20 minutes. The report notes that "Cambodia is thought to have "up to six million landmines," so there is much work remaining.

By the way, these rats have become an invasive species in Florida.

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