Ratman: Rat superhero sniffs out landmines and saves lives

CAMBODIA—He’s not the hero Cambodia deserves, but he is the hero they need.

Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, has been given a gold medal from the People’s Dispensary of Sick Animals (PDSA) after sniffing out dozens of landmines in Cambodia. 

- Advertisement -

The average African giant pouched rat lives seven years; and Magawa has made the most of those seven: He has detected 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance over his seven-year career, according to the PDSA. He’s cleared more than 141,000 square meters of land – the same area of 20 soccer fields. 

Read Also: Deeply divided: Where is America headed?

The PDSA said that Magawa was a “hero rat,” and for every landmine, “…he saves a life.” PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin praised Magawa, saying: “Magawa’s dedication, skill, and bravery are an extraordinary example of this and deserve the highest possible recognition. 

In addition to his recognition as the 30th recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal, he also earned the notable distinction of being the first non-canine to ever receive it. 

- Advertisement -

The rats are chosen for their noses and speed: According to the PDSA, “When Magawa detects a landmine by the chemicals used in it, he signals to his handler. They know that where Magawa signals is the exact location because his sense of smell is so good, and so can dispose of the mine safely.” The rats are also much faster than humans. The PDSA said that Magawa can peruse an area the size of a tennis court in 30 minutes. That is life-saving time: that same area could take up to four days for a human with a metal detector and is extremely dangerous.

These special rats are of vital importance to places like Cambodia. According to the PDSA, in addition to the 80 million landmines in the world that are active and unknown, around four to six million of those landmines were laid in Cambodia alone during the Cambodian Civil War in the 1970s. The southeast Asian country has the highest number of mine amputees per capita in the world—at over 40,000—and there have been 64,000 casualties from landmines. 

For all his heroism, Magawa, it seems, is Cambodia’s, Dark Knight. 

Do you want to publish on Apple News, Google News, and more? Join our writing community, improve your writing skills, and be read by hundreds of thousands around the world!

- Advertisement -


More from World – News Landed

+ Russian President Putin suggests Navalny may have poisoned himself
+ 2nd Coming? Not so fast: Man claiming to be the reincarnation of Jesus arrested in Russia

Popular Stories – News Landed

+ Social media is shaping our concept of beauty
+ Zayn Malik & Gigi Hadid blessed with a baby girl

Related Stories

Cambodia allows cruise ship passengers to disembark after being rejected by several countries

For the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship, it has been...

Featured Stories

NASA to launch delicate stowing of samples from asteroid Bennu

NASA's spacecraft OSIRIS-Rex that collected material samples from asteroid Bennu last week is leaking materials into space...

Methane deposits in the Arctic ocean are releasing greenhouse gases

Researchers have found evidence that large amounts of greenhouse gases are being released from frozen methane deposits...

Match 46 Oct 26: KXIP win and make the points table even more interesting

It's match 46 in the IPL, and it's a big match today. KKR takes on KXIP for...

NASA to announce exciting discovery about Moon

On October 26, at 12 PM EDT NASA will announce an exciting discovery about Moon from the...

Daily use of aspirin can lower the risk of COVID-19 death, study finds

A new study reveals that patients hospitalized for COVID-19 that take aspirin daily (low dosage) have a...

The peer pressure of a medical dream in India

If you are either born, studying, or working in India, you pretty much should have come across...

Comment Below

Cambodia allows cruise ship passengers to disembark after being rejected by several countries

For the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship, it has been...