A subsidiary project of a Belgian non-profit organization APOPO. The goal of the project is the clearance of vast African territories, mined during endless and countless civil wars. Moreover, rats act as sappers.
The number of mines is truly enormous. It will take decades for human sappers to find them (which in itself is a very dangerous and time-consuming process) and neutralize them. It should be remembered that not every mine can be found with a conventional metal detector. In addition, there are few such specialists, their services, just like the services of special equipment, are very expensive, which poor African countries cannot afford. Of course, there are also specially trained dogs. But their training and maintenance is not cheap either.
|Romantic rat Zico can sniff out more than just mines|
Scientists have known about the ability of rats to sniff out explosives of various types in the last century. But only at the beginning of the current century this skill began to serve for the benefit of man. The "services" of a rat are much cheaper. The maintenance and training of intelligent animals does not require special costs. At the same time, the weight of a rat is so small that it can literally jump on a mine without fear that it will explode (naturally, smart rats do not try to prove this in practice every time - when they find a mine, they begin to scrape the ground around it and squeak).
Giant African pouched rats take part in the project. Sometimes they are also called Gambian (Cricetomys gambianus). The size of their body, excluding the tail, can reach a length of up to 30 cm, weight - up to one kilogram. These charming creatures are distant relatives of the most common pasyukov. They have high intelligence, excellent sense of smell. And they live long enough. An experienced sapper rat is able to explore hundreds of square meters in a matter of hours, which neither a person nor even a dog can do.
At the origins of this noble mission is the Belgian Bart Weetjens. He was struck by the statistics, according to which, every 20 minutes in Africa, a person who was blown up by a mine dies or becomes disabled. Initially, Bart was engaged in prosthetics. Then the happy thought occurred to him that rats could be used to clear mines. Then it was founded APOPOand then the project HeroRAT ("hero rat"). Ignoring the ridicule, the compassionate Belgian proved its effectiveness - his wards have neutralized more than one thousand square meters over the years.
The project is exclusively humanitarian and exists only on the money of sponsors and donations. Anyone can help him - just go to the project website, choose the rat you like and take "patronage" over it. It will cost only 5 euros per month. Well, or you can make a one-time contribution for any amount.