Tan­za­nia rats to help Cam­bo­dia de­tect land­mines

African Independent - - BUSINESS -

TAN­ZA­NIA will soon send 16 gi­ant rats to Cam­bo­dia to sniff out land­mines in the south­east Asian na­tion. The gi­ant pouched rats have been trained to de­tect land­mines by Bel­gian non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Apopo at its head­quar­ters in Tan­za­nia’s eastern re­gion of Moro­goro.

Said Dibwe, a trainer from the Apopo Ro­dent Re­search Project, said the Cam­bo­dian government re­quested Tan­za­nia to de­liver 16 rats for land­mine de­tec­tion.

He said the move would save the lives of the Cam­bo­dian peo­ple as well as re­duce deaths and in­juries caused by land­mine ex­plo­sions.

“We are just wait­ing for the per­mit from the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Tourism so that we can de­liver the de­tec­tion rats to Cam­bo­dia,” Dibwe said.

In Fe­bru­ary, Apopo de­liv­ered eight de­tec­tion rats to Cam­bo­dia “and the re­sponse was good and that’s why it re­quested more”.

The de­mand is huge in coun­tries that have been hit by land­mine ex­plo­sions such as Mozam­bique, An­gola and Cam­bo­dia.

“Apopo has al­ready de­liv­ered 70 de­tec­tion rats to Mozam­bique and we are ex­pect­ing to de­liver eight de­tec­tion rats to An­gola and we are plan­ning to de­liver de­tec­tion rats to Zim­babwe also,” he said.

The train­ing cen­tre was es­tab­lished in 2000.

Tthe train­ing for sniff­ing rats is car­ried out by the Moro­goro-based Sokoine Univer­sity of Agri­cul­ture in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Depart­ment of Bi­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of An­twerp.

The train­ing fa­cil­i­ties com­prise 24 hectares of test mine­fields with more than 1 500 de­ac­ti­vated buried land­mines.

The gi­ant rats have been also trained to de­tect TB. – Xin­hua

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