Magawa, a Tanzanian rat who spent most of his life sniffing out land mines in Cambodia, has died on January 9, 2022. The African giant pouched rat was part of the “HeroRAT” initiative run by the Belgian nonprofit APOPO, which works across Southeast Asia and Africa, training rats to detect land mines and tuberculosis. Magawa, who found more than 100 land mines, was the first rodent recipient of a gold medal that is often called the “animals’ George Cross” after a British honor usually given to civilians for acts of bravery and heroism. “He was a truly exemplary HeroRAT and a very worthy recipient of our PDSA Gold Medal, which recognizes civilian animals who have shown true bravery and exceptional devotion to duty,” the charity said. “His legacy will live on for decades to come, in the lives he has helped to save through his incredible work detecting land mines in Cambodia.”

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