Macaw, the “sniffing” rodent of anti-human landmines, has died – Corriere.it

From Pavlo Virtuvani

He was awarded a medal and the title of Herod for discovering more than a hundred mines and other devices in his life.

Cambodia is mourning the death of Macau, who was able to identify the presence of explosives by his sense of smell. During his five-year “career”, he discovered more than a hundred anti-personnel mines and other explosives on land affected by this type of bombing, causing dozens of casualties and hundreds of injuries each year.

There is no justice to the name

Magawa is a giant African rat (Crycetomis gambianus), Eight-year-old and rat-like in appearance and hamster name though it is nothing: it belongs to a unique family of rodents native to Africa. It shares cheek pockets with hamsters in which it accumulates food, especially fruit and palm bark. They can be bred to become social animals and subspecies living in colonies.

Look for explosives

He was instructed to search for explosives by the Belgian organization Apopo in Tanzania. A year later he was sent to Cambodia, where his nose helped deminers cover an area of ​​141,000 square meters, occupying an area of ​​twenty football fields, with anti-personnel landmines. It weighed 1.2 kg and was 70 cm long (including the tail) but was small and light enough that it did not trigger an explosive mechanism even when it went over the tunnel. In 20 minutes he was able to spot landmines the size of a tennis court, while someone with a metal detector would have taken one to four days depending on his experience in the area.

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Medal

In 2020, Magawa was awarded the BDSA Gold Medal, the highest British honor for an animal that has contributed to efforts to save or enhance human existence. Magawa, who also holds the title of HeroRAT, is the first mouse to win a medal in its 77-year history. He “retired” last June due to old age. He has been showing interest in playing for the last few days and the Apopo Association has announced that he has been feeling some kind of indifference since last week. “He left in peace,” they said. Hello Mouse Hero.

January 11, 2022 (January 11, 2022 change | 19:03)

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