Saving lives with … rats?

I feel as though rats have a bad rep. Not rats exclusively, but the entire rodent family, really. So many of us find mice and rats to be disease-ridden, grotesque, vicious creatures, and I simply can’t relate. I’ve always found members of the rodent family to be cute in an odd way, and it somewhat saddens me knowing how hated they are.

I am pleased to report that some of the hate rodents are facing could become a thing of the past, thanks to a rather special rat who has been busy saving lives in Cambodia, according to an article from The Good News Network.

He’s even won a medal for his work.

“A landmine detection rat, whose work in Cambodia has transformed the lives of the country’s citizens, has been awarded the gold medal from a UK charity for his life-saving bravery and devotion to duty.

“Magawa is an African giant pouched rat, trained to detect landmines by the international non-profit APOPO.

“He has discovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance to date, making him the charity’s most successful ‘hero rat’.

“During his career he has helped clear over 141,000 square meters of land (the equivalent of twenty football pitches), making that land safe for local people again.

“Magawa was formally presented with his miniature Gold Medal from veterinary charity The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) via a live link between Cambodia and Great Britain last week.

“He is the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history of honoring animals to receive a PDSA Medal—joining a line-up of brave dogs, horses, pigeons, and a cat.

“PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin, gave a statement as to why Magawa won the award: [His] 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.

“HeroRAT Magawa was trained in Tanzania by APOPO to detect the chemical compound within explosives and alert human deminers to its presence,” the article explains.

Honestly, if this story doesn’t alter your perception of rodents, I don’t know if anything will.

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