RIP to a hard-working rat: Magawa dies after retiring from detecting land mines in Cambodia – oregonlive.com

By SOPHENG CHEANG, The Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A land mine-detecting rat in Cambodia who received a prestigious award for his life-saving duty has died in retirement, the charity for which he had worked has announced.

Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, passed away last weekend, said an announcement on the website of APOPO, a Belgium-headquartered non-profit group. The organization trains rats and dogs to sniff out land mines and tuberculosis.

“All of us at APOPO are feeling the loss of Magawa and we are grateful for the incredible work he’s done,” the announcement said. Magawa was born in November 2013 in Tanzania, where APOPO maintains its operational headquarters and training and breeding center. He was sent to Cambodia in 2016.

The death of Magawa was announced a day after three mine removal experts working for another group were killed by an accidental explosion of an anti-tank mine in Cambodia’s northern province of Preah Vihear. Almost three decades of civil war that ended in 1998 left Cambodia littered with land mines and other unexploded ordnance that continue to kill and maim.

APOPO’s office in Cambodia posted condolences for the three dead and one wounded from the Cambodia Self Help Demining group.

According to APOPO, Magawa detected more than 100 land mines and other explosives during his five-year career before retiring last year.

African giant pouched rats are believed to be especially well-suited for land mine clearance because their small size lets them walk across mine fields without triggering the explosives.

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RIP to a hard-working rat: Magawa dies after retiring from detecting land mines in Cambodia – oregonlive.com

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