June 18, 2021

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The gold medal winning rat is retiring

One success after another has come in my career. Honors like gold medal are also gathered for heroism. Now he has to retire. Naturally, anyone will think that he is talking about a successful person in his professional life. But this is the story of a rat. His name is Magawa. Home in Africa but workplace in Cambodia. This rat is a place of honor in the eyes of many by identifying landmines in the country.

According to a BBC report, Magawa has saved countless lives by identifying 61 mines and many explosives in five years. This rat has also been given a gold medal for this. But the seven-year-old African animal is now retiring. Mine detection is being replaced by relatively young rats.

Malen, who looks after Magawa, said the giant African rat has now slowed down. She is old now. His demands need to be respected now.

Magawa to identify mines.

Magawa to identify mines. 
Photo: Apopore website

An estimated 6 million mines are thought to have been planted across Cambodia. Magawa was brought to the Southeast Asian country from Tanzania in Africa to identify the mines. Many rats are trained to detect mines at Apopo, a Tanzanian-based charity registered in Belgium. These rats, which have been trained since 1990, are called ‘hero rats’. Magawa was one of those brave rats.

Magawa in the lap of Malone, the caretaker of Magawa.

Magawa in the lap of Malone, the caretaker of Magawa. 
Photo: Apopo website Gold medal winning rat is retiring

Magawa worked under the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) involved in mine action in Cambodia. Since his retirement, Apopo has provided a new group of trained rats to CMAC. However, after retiring, Magawa has to stay for a few more days. The charity said it would work for a few more weeks as an ‘adviser’ to the new rats. Magawa will help newcomers adapt to the Cambodian environment.

“There is no one like Magwa in terms of skills so far,” said Mallen. I am proud to work with him. ‘ The rat weighs 1.2 kg and is 60 cm long. Magwa is much larger than other species of rats. Even then, if you walk on a mine with this weight, it does not explode.

Apopo says that if there is a mine somewhere equal to a tennis court, Magawa can get it out in just 20 minutes. It will take one to four days for a person to do that with a metal detector.

Magawa won the PDSA Gold Medal last September in recognition of its dedicated commitment to saving lives. This gold medal is given for the brave deeds of animals. This honor is compared to the George Cross Medal for animals. George Cross, the highest medal of the British government for bravery.

Magawai is the first animal in the 6-year history of Apopore to win the PDSA medal.