Cambodia's 'Hero' Rat Magawa, Who Sniffed Out Landmines, Dies 7 Months After Retirement

Cambodia’s ‘Hero’ Rat Magawa, Who Sniffed Out Landmines, Dies 7 Months After Retirement

New Delhi: After a successful career spanning five years, during which it detected more than 100 landmines and explosives and saved many lives, Cambodia’s ‘HeroRAT’ Magawa died at the age of eight, news agency Reuters reported.

Born in Tanzania, the landmine-sniffing rat retired from duty in June 2021. It died over the weekend, the report said.

Trained by international charity APOPO, Magawa was the most successful ‘HeroRAT’ in Cambodia. APOPO uses African giant pouched rats to help detect landmines as well as tuberculosis, the report said.

“Magawa was in good health and spent most of last week playing with his usual enthusiasm, but towards the weekend he started to slow down, napping more and showing less interest in food in his last days,” APOPO said in a statement.

Cambodia, which has seen civil war for decades, is one of the world’s most landmined countries. With more than 40,000 people having lost their limbs to explosives, the country has among the highest number of amputees per capita, according to the Reuters report.

Only on Monday, three Cambodian nationals working to clear mines died in the Preah Vihear province that borders Thailand, the report said.

Magawa was brought to Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2016 to work on clearing mines.

In its statement, APOPO said its contribution allowed Cambodians to “live, work, and play more safely”.

“Every discovery he made reduced the risk of injury or death for the people of Cambodia.”

In 2020, Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals awarded a gold medal to Magawa for “lifesaving bravery and devotion to duty”.

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