0031 African Rats

Oct 24, 2014, 09:25 PM

This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Centers for East Asian Studies and Kansas African Studies.

When you think of landmines, you might picture war torn lands or the activism of the late Princess Diana. When Bart Weetjens thinks of landmines, he thinks of…rats. African Giant Pouched Rats, to be precise. Weetjens is the founder of APOPO, an NGO in Tanzania that breeds and trains rats to detect landmines. Because rats have a superior sense of smell and are cheaper to train than dogs, these accredited Mine Detection Rats are proving to be surprisingly effective at ratting out hidden landmines. In Mozambique, for example, the rats and their trainers have helped find and neutralize over 12,000 landmines and over 26,000 “small arms and ammunitions.” You can even adopt a HeroRat from afar and track its real world progress on the APOPO website. You’ve heard of smelling a rat…well, this is the opposite. With thanks to Mackenzie Jones for this text, from the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.

#CEAS #Hacker #Jones #Mozambique

"Brown Rat" Image courtesy of Smithsonian's National Zoo. Released under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.