RIP Magawa, the hero rat: Sniffed out hundreds of landmines and explosives

Magawa, an eight-year-old “hero rat” who saved lives by sniffing out landmines in Cambodia, has died.

For the most part, Magawa was in good condition and played with his usual vigor last week. However, as the weekend approached, he began to slow down, resting more and showing less interest in eating in his final days.

Magawa turned eight years old in November, and he just celebrated his milestone birthday with “family and friends.”

APOPO, the non-governmental group that trained the African giant pouched rat, says he spotted more than 100 landmines and other devices during his service.

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British veterinary organization, awarded Magawa a gold medal for his achievements in 2020.

APOPO stated: “It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that HeroRAT Magawa passed away peacefully this weekend.”

The tribute said that Magawa had left a lasting legacy in the lives he saved. People feel the loss of the rat and are grateful for his incredible work.

Magawa, who just retired in 2021, is APOPO’s most successful “hero rat” to date, the organization said.

APOPO noted that Magawa’s contribution allows communities in Cambodia to live, work, and play; without fear of losing their life or limbs.

African giant pouched rats are intuitive and straightforward to educate—Magawa had been training since very young.

It all began at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania in November 2013, when he was born. Magawa was trained in the art of sniffing out bombs, landmines, explosives devices.

When he relocated to Cambodia three years later, Magawa began his profession like an artist in the city of Siem Reap.

With Magawa’s support, people secured more than 225,000 square meters of ground in Cambodia, where decades of violence have left the terrain littered with potentially lethal unexploded ordinances.