ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) --
Tanzania will soon send 16 giant rats to Cambodia
to sniff out landmines in the southeast Asian nation, an
official said on Monday.
The giant pouched
rats have been trained to detect landmines by Belgian non-profit
organization APOPO at its headquarters in Tanzania’s eastern
region of Morogoro.
Said Dibwe, trainer
from the Apopo Rodent Research Project, said that the Cambodian
government has requested Tanzania to deliver 16 rats for
He said the move
will save lives of the Cambodian people as well as reducing
deaths and injuries caused by landmine explosions.
“Right now 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,” he said.
Apart from that in
February this year, Apopo had delivered a total of eight
detection rats to Cambodia and the response was good and that’s
why have decided to request 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 Tanzania’s APOPO
training center was established in 2000 and the training for
sniffing rats is carried out by the Morogoro-based Sokoine
University of Agriculture (SUA) in collaboration with the
Department of Biology at the University of Antwerp (UA).
facilities comprise 24 hectares of test minefields with over
1,500 deactivated buried landmines.
The giant rats have
been also trained to detect Tuberculosis (TB).