Meet Magawa, a landmine detection rat who has been awarded the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Gold Medal for his bravery in saving lives in Cambodia. The medal is considered to be the animal equivalent of the George Cross.

Magawa, also known as HeroRAT Magawa, is the first rat in the charity’s 77-year history of honoring animals to receive a PDSA medal.

Magawa is an African giant pouched rat trained to detect landmines by charity APOPO. He is the charity’s most successful rodent with 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordinance discovered under his name. He also cleared over 141,000 square meters of land for local people.

“The work of HeroRAT Magawa and APOPO is truly unique and outstanding. Cambodia estimates that between four and six million landmines were laid in the country between 1975 and 1998, which have sadly caused over 64,000 casualties,” PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin told Bored Panda in an interview.

“HeroRAT Magawa’s work directly saves and changes the lives of men, women, and children who are impacted by these landmines. Every discovery he makes reduces the risk of injury or death for local people. The PDSA Animal Awards program seeks to raise the status of animals in society and honor the incredible contribution they make to our lives. Magawa’s dedication, skill, and bravery are an extraordinary example of this and deserve the highest possible recognition. We are thrilled to award him the PDSA Gold Medal,” he added.

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