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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Tanzania to send landmine-detecting rats to Cambodia

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 landmine detection.

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).

The training 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).

             

 

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