If you haven’t heard of Magawa, now you have. This brave rat passed away recently after a career of saving lives.
His job was simple: sniff out landmines and stop people from getting blown up. He died a week ago after retiring from a long career.
Magawa was an African giant pouched rat born in Tanzania, but is being recognized most of all for his work in landmine-strewn Cambodia. Here, he sniffed out mines and saved thousands of lives after starting work there in 2016.
The charity organization APOPO in Belgium said the loss of Magawa hit them hard and they are all grateful for his “incredible” work.
What Did Magawa Do?
In his eight years of life, Magawa did amazing work, sniffing out land mines in Cambodia. The world learned of Magawa’s passing only three days after brave volunteers working to remove land mines in Cambodia were blown up.
Cambodia had over thirty years of conflict up until 1998, as they fought against communism. The result included many buried landmines, which continue to kill and maim men, women, and children across the country.
The work of organizations like APOPO is very valuable; hero rats like Magawa are a crucial part of their mission to save lives. The organization says this brave guy sniffed out over 100 mines and unexploded ordinances during his life.
He was recognized for it two years ago in 2020 as well by a UK organization. This organization gave Magawa the rat equivalent of the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery and work in saving lives.
RIP Magawa. 🐀
The famous mine-clearing rat who was awarded a gold medal for bravery, has died at the age of eight.
We found out more about Magawa (including his love for bananas and watermelon) after he won his award in 2020 https://t.co/H5GuPl2Olb
— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) January 11, 2022
Saying Goodbye to a Hero Rat
Magawa was a hero. He shows just how much difference even one of God’s smallest creatures can make in the world. His breed is also part of the reason he was so skilled at sniffing out rats.
They are extremely small and can find dangerous explosives like mines after being well trained. Magawa’s age of 8 when he passed away is normal for his breed, but he’s still causing tears as people remember the brave work he did.
Nations like Cambodia are still full of the ravages of war; organizations like APOPO deserve credit for making a difference. We might not always hear about their work, but they’re active behind the scenes saving life and limb.
The brave frontline volunteers like Magawa, and those who passed away recently in the accidental explosion, also deserve a lot of recognition.
We received the sad news that #PDSAGoldMedal recipient, Magawa the HeroRAT, passed away over the weekend. 💔 In celebration of his life, watch his amazing story, saving lives in Cambodia through his landmine detection skills: https://t.co/QlrDQXh5Ao
R.I.P Magawa 🐀🏅❤️ pic.twitter.com/x8u4MVoW9A
— PDSA (@PDSA_HQ) January 11, 2022
Remembering Those We Lost
In addition to Magawa, let’s remember the three individuals we lost on January 10 from the Cambodia Self Help Demining team.
These people were clearing mines that are still there from war with bloodthirsty communist Khmer Rouge. A horrific number of 19,806 people have died since 1979 from mines in the country.
There are still six million unexploded mines and bombs in Cambodia. These three people are heroes who died to make a better world.
So is Magawa. Rest in peace, heroes.