Magawa, the hero-rat who found landmines, has passed away

According to APOPO (the mine-clearing nongovernmental organization that trained him), the African giant pouched Rat found more than 100 landmines.

His efforts earned him a gold medal in 2020 from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British veterinary charity.

APOPO announced the sad news Tuesday. Magawa had been in good health for most of the week and was enjoying his normal enthusiasm. But, Magawa began to slow down and started to nap less and show less interest in food towards the weekend. Magawa was 8 years old when he celebrated his 8th birthday in November.

Magawa’s “lasting legacy in lives that he saved” was stated in the tribute. APOPO employees also felt the loss and were grateful for the extraordinary work that he did.

Magawa, who retired in the last year, was APOPO’s most accomplished “hero rat”, the organization stated.

APOPO said that his contribution allowed communities in Cambodia to live and work without fear, adding that APOPO was grateful.

Magawa started training African giant pouched Rats at an early age.

APOPO stated that he was born at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania in November 2013. He learned how to detect explosives with his incredible sense of smell. He moved to Cambodia in 2003, to start his career.

APOPO trains rats how to recognize the smell of explosive chemicals in landmines. They then point them out their handlers.

Magawa’s hard work helped clear 225,000 sq. meters of land in Cambodia. This is a country that has been ravaged by conflict for decades.