APOPO is an award-winning non-profit that trains rats to save lives. The organisation has developed an innovative method of sniffing out landmines and tuberculosis using African giant pouched rats, nicknamed “HeroRATs”. Using their extraordinary sense of smell these animals help to speed up and reduce the cost of tackling humanitarian problems.
Cambodia is one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world, the result of 3 decades of conflict which persisted until the late 1990’s. The impact of these weapons is long lasting and devastating. Landmines keep people poor and their presence stands in the way of socio-economic growth for communities living in contaminated environments. Mines prevent access to land for agriculture, resettlement and other infrastructure developments such as roads, schools and water catchment ponds. Removing mines is therefore essential for the lives and livelihoods of the Cambodian population.
Enter the HeroRATs. Too light to detonate the mines, the HeroRATs scratch at the ground when they locate explosives. Ignoring scrap bits of metal, APOPO’s Mine detection rats can search around 200 square meters in 20 minutes. This would take manual deminers up to four days.
Once trained up and accredited the HeroRATs support existing demining teams, not only to significantly speed up the work and release land, but to help save lives and limbs.
We all want to rid our land of landmines as soon as possible and together with our HeroRATs we will get there!