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Mine Magawa sniffing landmines puts an end to years of hardship in Cambodia

This dateless file photo from People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) shows Magawa, a Cambodian mine-detecting rat wearing a PDSA gold medal equivalent to George Cross, in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I will. After sniffing out land mines and unexploded ordnance in Cambodia for five years, Magawa retires. The giant pouched rat is the most successful rodent trained and supervised by the Belgian nonprofit APOPO, finding land mines and alerting human handlers so that explosives can be safely removed.Credit: PDSA via AP, file

After sniffing landmines and unexploded ordnance in Cambodia for five years, Magawa retires.


The giant pouched rat is the most successful rodent trained and supervised by the Belgian nonprofit APOPO, finding land mines and alerting human handlers so that explosives can be safely removed. Last year, Magawa received the highest civilian award from a British charity for her animal courage. So far, this is an honor given only to dogs.

“Although he’s still in good health, he’s reaching retirement age and is clearly starting to slow down,” APOPO said. “It’s time.”

According to APOPO, Magawa carved more than 141,000 square meters (1.5 million square feet) of land, equivalent to about 20 soccer fields, and examined 71 mines and 38 unexploded ordnance.

Many rodents are trained to sense odors and perform repetitive tasks for food rewards, but APOPO has determined that the giant pouched rat is best suited for landmine clearance. Much faster than humans. Also, they live up to 8 years.

Magawa is a member of a cohort of mice raised for this purpose. Born in Tanzania in 2014, he moved to Siem Reap, a city in northwestern Cambodia where the famous Angkor Temple is located, and began his bomb detection career in 2016.

After retiring, Magawa will live in the same cage cage as before, follow the same routine, but will no longer go to minefields, APOPO spokesman who called the organization’s operations headquarters in Tanzania. The person in charge, Lily Shalom, said.

He is given the same food, has time to play every day, and undergoes regular exercise and health checks. According to Shalom, he mainly ate fresh fruits and vegetables, protein supplemented small sun-dried fish, and vitamins and fiber supplemented imported pellets. 20-30 minutes a day, such as in sandboxes and running wheels. It is released into a larger cage with equipment.

APOPO is also working with programs in Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to clear millions of mines left behind in wars and conflicts.

More than 60 million people in 59 countries continue to be threatened by land mines and unexploded ordnance. In 2018, land mines and other war debris killed or injured 6,897 people.


Cambodia trains mice to detect land mines


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https://phys.org/news/2021-06-mine-sniffing-rat-magawa-years-hard.html Mine Magawa sniffing landmines puts an end to years of hardship in Cambodia

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