“And the 2020 Landmine detection awards go to…..MAGAWA!- for clearing 20 football pitches worth of land.”
Magawa the Rat works for a charity in Cambodia and has cleared more than 20 football pitches worth of land- bagging him a Gold Medal in the process! the landmine detection rat was awarded the gold medal for his “lifesaving bravery and devotion to duty”. The medal will be formally presented to the ‘intelligent rodent’ by way of a virtual ceremony today.
The giant African pouched rat has so far discovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance since he was trained by charity *APOPO. Magawa is the charity’s most successful Hero Rat, having cleared more than 141,000 square metres of land – the equivalent of 20 football pitches.
Magawa has now been formally recognised for his work and been presented with a miniature PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross! He is the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history to receive such an award. He was given a banana for his efforts but apparently declined to give an acceptance speech…
Christophe Cox, chief executive of APOPO said, quote: “To receive this medal is really an honour for us. I have been working with APOPO for over 20 years. Especially for our animal trainers who are waking up every day, very early, to train those animals in the morning. But also it is big for the people in Cambodia, and all the people around the world who are suffering from landmines. The PDSA Gold Medal award brings the problem of landmines to global attention.”
Magawa, who is now nearing retirement age, can search the area of a tennis court in 30 minutes, something that would take a human with a metal detector up to four days.
PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin said: “The work of Magawa and APOPO is truly unique and outstanding. “Cambodia estimates that between 4m and 6m landmines were laid in the country between 1975 and 1998, which have sadly caused over 64,000 casualties. Magawa’s work directly saves and changes the lives of men, women and children who are impacted by these landmines. Every discovery he makes reduces the risk of injury or death for local people.” Cambodia has the highest number of mine amputees per capita in the world – more than 40,000 people.
* APOPO is a non-profit organization that trains African giant pouched rats to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis.
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