Decorated Service Rat Credited With Detecting Over 70 Landmines Honorably Retires

YouTube Screenshot: PDSA

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Magawa, a rat that was taught how to sniff out landmines, is retiring after five years of doing so in Cambodia, the organization that trained the rodent announced.

Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling (APOPO), “Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development” in English, announced the rat’s honorable discharge.

“With mixed feelings, we announce that PDSA Gold-medalist Magawa will be retiring this month. Although still in good health, he has reached a retirement age and is clearly starting to slow down,” APOPO tweeted Friday.

Magawa has been described as a hero after directly saving “the lives of men, women and children who were impacted by hidden landmines and other deadly remnants of war,” the organization said.

Magawa wearing his PDSA Gold Medal/ PDSA YouTube

APOPO proclaimed that every discovery the rat made reduced the risk of death or injury to the people in Cambodia. He is the organization’s most successful HeroRAT, finding over 70 landmines and clearing over 225,000 square meters of land, APOPO said. (RELATED: With Return Of Cicadas, Experts Warn Of Rat Infestation)

Magawa was born in Tanzania in 2014 and is an African giant pouched rat, according to APOPO. He was trained how to locate explosives by using his sense of smell at the organization’s training center. He was deployed to Cambodia in 2016.

He received the PDSA Gold Medal for his work in September 2020. It is considered the animal equivalent of the George Cross, a British military award for courageous service, according to APOPO.