A giant African pouched rat has been awarded a gold medal for life-saving bravery and devotion to duty after cleaning 141,000 meters of land and detecting landmines.
The rat that we are talking about is Magawa.
He earned the medal after helping the authorities clearing over 141,000 square meters of land.
The clever rodent received the PDSA Gold Medal, which is equivalent to the George Cross award, the joint highest award in the United Kingdom honors system.
Amy Dickin, the PSDA’s awards and heritage manager, released a statement about the rat and what he would be doing in the future.
He will no doubt enjoy a watermelon or two over the weekend, I believe that’s his weekend treat. And he loves a banana when he’s on shift as well so I’m sure he’ll be back to work performing his life-saving duties and we’re so immensely proud.
Magawa was trained to detect landmines and TB (tuberculosis) by APOPO.
The animal is the first rat in 77 years to receive such a huge honor in the history of the charity.
The award has been given in an attempt to raise awareness for countries like Cambodia, where landmines are still a threat and are continuing to kill and injured hundreds or few people each year.
From the years 1975 and 1998, 4 to 6 million landmines were laid in the country. The landmines alone are the cause of 64,000 deaths.
Rats are used to detect landmines due to their intelligence along with their eagerness to complete repetitive tasks to earn food.
In terms of danger, they are less likely to be injured as they are fast and extremely small in size.
The rats are trained to work for 30 minutes each day. They go to extensive training for 1 straight year, said the authorities.
Rats are also capable of communicating with humans after they find a landmine. All they do is start to scratch the top.
Their intelligence is applauded all over the world, along with Jan McLoughlin, director-general of the PDSA.
Jan said that the work of Magawa along with the APOPO is unique.
Magawa’s work directly saves and changes the lives of men, women and children who are impacted by these landmines. Every discovery he makes reduces the risk of injury or death for local people. The PDSA Animal Awards programme seeks to raise the status of animals in society and honour the incredible contribution they make to our lives. Magawa’s dedication, skill and bravery are an extraordinary example of this and deserve the highest possible recognition. We are thrilled to award him the PDSA Gold Medal.
This is such an amazing thing to do with a rat that had worked very hard!