Did you know there is an organization that cares for and trains oversized, African giant-pouched rats to do mine and disease detection?
APOPO (www.apopo.org/en) is a non-profit that trains the large rats to detect landmines. In countries scarred by war, landmines are often “found” long after war, and lives lost. The rats are trained to use their naturally acute sense of smell to find mines.
The rats are big enough to handle, yet light enough not to set off the mines. Being able to find landmines and clear them potentially saves lives — and APOPO hasn’t lost any rat to a landmine either.
Tuberculosis detection training allows the rats to detect tuberculosis in human body fluid.
So far, these two areas are how APOPO is developing detection rats to solve global problems. And, they treat the rats lovingly, too.