History of Pouched Rats
Gambian Pouched Rats have very poor eyesight but extremely keen sense of smell and hearing. Due to these characteristics and their high intelligence, they can be trained to perform tasks.
APOPO is a Tanzanian social enterprise that has successfully trained Gambian Pouched Rats to detect land mines and tuberculosis. These rats are known as HeroRATS, costings significantly less to be trained that mine-detecting dogs. In 2020, a Hero Rat called Magawa was the first rat to be honoured with a PDSA Gold Medal, as an acknowledgement of the work done in detecting landmines and unexploded ordance in Cambodia.