Most heroes don’t wear capes. In fact, some heroes aren’t even people at all. Heroes rise out of the most incredible places where nobody seems to expect.
A UK veterinary charity by the name of PDSA grants an award to animals that have performed “animal gallantry or devotion to duty”.
Magawa, a giant African pouched rat, has won the award for “life-saving bravery and devotion” for sniffing out 39 landmines and 28 unexploded munitions in Cambodia.
In the 77-year history of the award, Magawa is the first rat to win it.
Magawa was trained by the animal nonprofit APOPO. It was this training that has prepared this courageous rat for the perils and triumphs ahead. The constant dedication to protecting innocent lives is what motivated most of the trainers to get up every single day. When the dust settled, the training staff knew that their efforts would pay off tremendously.
“To receive this medal is really an honor for us. I have been working with APOPO for over 20 years” said Christopher Cox, the chief executive of APOPO. “especially for our animal trainers who are waking up every day very early to train those animals in the morning. but also it is big for the people in Cambodia and all the people around the world who are suffering from landmines. The PDSA gold medal award brings the problem of landmines to global attention.”
The seven-year-old Magawa, now inching closer to retirement, can infiltrate an entire tennis court in just 20 minutes.
By comparison, humans on average can take anywhere between one and four days.
Despite weighing in at about 1.2 kg, he is still light enough to not trigger any mines and maintain agility as he scurries around performing his duty.
These rats are actually very intelligent and are prepared to take on repetitive tasks for food more than other creatures. Magawa was trained to detect a chemical compound within the explosive and then signal by scratching the top to alert their human handlers.
The rat trainees require one year of full service before they are officially certified to perform their duty.
Incredibly, they work for only half an hour each day early in the morning. Now that’s discipline!
The PDSA director general, Jan McLoughlin, stated:
“The work of Magawa and APOPO It’s truly unique and outstanding. Magawas work directly safe and changes the lives of men, women, and children who are impacted by these landmines. Every discovery he makes with this the risk of injury or death for local people.”
McLoughlin has mentioned that between four and six million landmines were hidden in Cambodia between 1975 and 1998. These are formidable figures, considering that the country has reported more than 64,000 casualties and about 25,000 amputees in total.
The little rat’s work cannot simply be understated.
In addition, she said, “The PDSA animal awards programs used to raise the status of animals society and honor the incredible contribution they make to our lives. Magawas dedication, skill, and bravery are extraordinary examples of this and deserve the highest possible recognition. We are thrilled to award him the PDSA gold medal.”
Magawa’s incredible career has made him the most successful Hero Rat of the pack.
In total, he has cleared 141,000 square meters of land, which is The equivalent of 20 football fields. Those that have worked with him call him the animal version of George Cross.
Big things do come in small packages. Magawa is a testament to the powerful impact animals can have on the battlefront. His heroics deserve recognition and the incredible men and women behind the training staff should also be given high praise.
Make sure to watch the video of Magawa’s recognition below!
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