UK charity PDSA has chosen Magawa this year’s gold medal winner for its dedication to saving lives in action, on site and in the removal of deadly landmines in Cambodia. “
The 7-year-old rodent is much larger than the average pet rat – but still light enough to walk on a landmine without detonating it.
The Belgian non-profit organization APOPO in Tanzania trained Magawa to sniff out landmines in exchange for treatment.
“They are completely safe for HeroRATs like Magawa to detect landmines and they are very smart animals so they are easy to train.” PDSA said Magawa began training from a young age after being bred by APOPO for the purpose.
Magawa has so far discovered 39 landmines and 28 unexploded ordnance items, making him the most successful APOP team.
There are believed to be up to six million landmines in Cambodia, according to BBC, Which also mentioned that the medal’s inscription reads “to animal courage or dedication to duty.”
Before Magawa, previous award winners were dogs.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stated that “getting this medal is really an honor for us.” “But it is also big for the people of Cambodia, and for all the people all over the world who have landmines.”