Sunday, June 13

Rat That Sniffs Out Land Mines Receives Award for Bravery

The medal awarded on Friday lauded the “lifesaving bravery and devotion to duty” for work detecting land mines in Cambodia. Its recipient: a rat named Magawa.

Magawa is the first rat to receive the award — a gold medal bestowed by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British charity, that is often called the “animal’s George Cross” after an honor usually given to civilians that recognizes acts of bravery and heroism.

With Magawa having discovered 39 land mines, 28 items of unexploded ordnance and helped to clear more than 1.5 million square feet of land over the past four years, not since the fictional rat Remy of the 2007 Disney film “Ratatouille” has a rat done so much to challenge the public’s view of them as creatures more commonly seen scuttling through sewers and the subway.

“Magawa’s work directly saves and changes the lives of men, women and children who are impacted by these land mines,” said Jan McLoughlin, the director general of the charity, which bestowed the award in an online ceremony. “Every discovery he makes reduces the risk of injury or death for local people.”

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