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More De-Mining Goodness: Rats

APOPO, a Belgian organization based at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, has developed another tool in the global effort to detect and remove landmines. Trained rats -- specifically Cricetomys gambianus, the African Giant Pouched rat -- can sniff out the residual chemicals from landmines and scratch the ground, indicating to handlers the explosive's location. Light enough in weight not to set the mines off, the rats are well cared for, and able to cover around 100 square meters in about a half hour.

APOPO is also working on training rats to detect signs of tuberculosis through scent, with initially good results.


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