Bomb-sniffing African pouched rat, Image from Wikimedia Commons

In early 2022, a legend died. That legend was an African pouched rat named Magawa, who was trained to sniff out unexploded landmines in Cambodia. 

Magawa, who was born in 2013, was trained for three years in Tanzania by the Belgian organization Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development. After he completed his training, he was shipped out to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where many landmines remained from the civil war with the Khmer Rouge. He sniffed away to his heart’s content while saving the lives of countless people.

During his career, he cleared almost 2.5 million square feet of land and detected over 100 mines. Magawa’s salary was one banana per landmine. After his lifesaving work was over, he received two rewards: a rat-sized gold medal and retirement. The heroic rodent spent the rest of his days relaxing and died at the merry old age of 8 years old.