Not all heroes wear capes, not all heroes are even human. Magawa is an African giant kangaroo, aka Gambian kangaroo, trained to detect land mines, known for his precision spotting skills. Over the course of his career, this rat has found more than 100 landmines and explosives in Cambodia, where remnants of past conflicts are still hidden deep in the ground.
The nonprofit Apopo, which raises and trains rats like Magawa, announced its death on Tuesday. Magawa turned 8 years old in November, Apopo said: “Magawa was in good health and spent most of the week before his death playing with his usual high spirits, but by the end of the week he began to slow down, sleep more, and show little interest. more food in his last days”.
Born in Tanzania, Magawa started his career sniffing explosives in Cambodia in 2016 and retiring in 2021. The rat is part of a group of rats nicknamed “HeroRats”. Magawa is the most successful working rat, winning the prestigious PDSA gold medal in 2020. Magawa is the first rat to receive that honor, recognized as an animal of courage and devotion to the cause. service.
Magawa’s legacy lives on in Apopo’s HeroRats program. The group said: “Clearing minefields is intense, difficult, dangerous and requires precision work. This is where Apopo’s animals can help increase efficiency and cut costs“. Gambian kangaroos, despite their large size compared to common mice, are light enough that they do not accidentally trigger landmines.
According to the Kangaroo Association, these animals have a lifespan of up to eight years. Apopo said Magawa passed away peacefully.