Rats trained to detect landmines in Cambodia

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Phnom Penh: A team of rats imported from Africa may be just the ticket to help Cambodia sniff out the countless unexploded land mines that are dotted throughout the country.

The rats, a total of 15 of them, arrived back in April from Tanzania, with the help of a Belgian organization that apparently specializes in training rats to hunt down explosives. The somewhat appropriately named Heng Ratana, boss of the Cambodia Mine Action Center, told AFP that the rats will be assigned to their special mission if they pass strict tests. Apparently these rats are commonly used for land mine – as well as tuberculosis – detection in multiple African nations.

Tragically the training program hasn’t gone so smoothly thus far, with one rat already passing away (not due to an exploding mine; this rat is believed to have had trouble adjusting to the different climate in Cambodia). The remaining team of rats will commence their formal training in a landmine field shortly.

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