Magawa, the ‘heroine’ rat who saved human lives in war zones, dies

Magawa, considered a ‘heroine’ rat and one of the most famous in the world for detecting antipersonnel mines, died this weekend at the age of eight, reported, this Tuesday, January 11, Apopo, a Belgian organization that trains these animals for that work.

The organization explained that “he spent most of the past week playing with his usual enthusiasm”, but during the last days “he began to slow down, taking more naps and showing less interest in food in his last days”, despite of your good health. They added that “he passed away in peace.”

It weighed 1.2 kg and was 70 cm long. For much of its existence, it was charged with saving the lives of many people by sniffing out more than 100 landmines and other explosives in peasant areas plagued and threatened by hidden remnants of the war in Cambodia in Southeast Asia.

Magawa was the most successful rat trained by Apopo to alert human handlers to the mines so they can be safely removed.

It cleared “more than 141,000 square meters” and “was able to search a field the size of a tennis court in just 20 minutes,” which would take between one and four days for a person with a metal detector, the BBC reported. .

He retired last June 2021 after five years of work, and received a gold medal for his heroism.

The person in charge of decorating her was the PDSA an English organization that awards exclusive medals to different animals to recognize their work. It is like the Cross of St. George of the animals, and she was the first rat to receive this medal.

“All of us at Apopo are sorry for the loss of Magawa and are grateful for the incredible work he has done,” Apopo concluded in a statement.