May WATWB–Hero Rat Retires

We Are the World Blogfest

Late again, but here’s an interesting good news story with a twist–not a person but a rat doing good things, with the aid of human handlers. As most of you know, with all the conflicts around the world over the last century, a dangerous thing left behind is land mines. In this case, it’s Cambodia from the war in Vietnam and/or conflicts within the country itself during other years some decades ago.

From NPR (and many other news outlets that have picked up the story) comes this report:

A heroic rat named Magawa has been working for five years in Cambodia, sniffing out dozens of land mines. He is believed to have saved lives.

Now, the animal is about to embark on a well-deserved retirement.

“Although still in good health, he has reached a retirement age and is clearly starting to slow down,” the nonprofit APOPO said Thursday. “It is time.”

A rat on a line, clearing a mine field
Magawa is shown here working to detect land mines, a job the animal has done for five years.

According to the report, “Even among his skilled cohorts working in Cambodia, Magawa is a standout sniffer: In four years he has helped to clear more than 2.4 million square feet of land. In the process, he has found 71 land mines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance.” For that success, he won and award. Now he can retire and enjoy a life of food and play.

Because of their light weight, the rats don’t trigger the mines–which works out well for parties concerned.

8 thoughts on “May WATWB–Hero Rat Retires

  1. I used to have rats as class pets in my classroom. The kids grew quite fond of them after a bit. The average life span is 2-3 years, but some can live 4-5 years. If this rat has been doing this for four years, he’s already outlived many of his counterparts.

  2. This is definitely smile worthy John! Good on Magawa, may he enjoy his retirement. We are indebted to this humble creature. Great #WATWB post thank you!

  3. Interesting read. I had no idea rats were used for this sort of thing. Happy he is retiring. 🙂

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