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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Cambodia uses 'life-saving' rats to sniff out deadly landmines


    Cambodia is still one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world. At least 26 million explosive sub-munitions were dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War, mostly in eastern and north-eastern areas bordering the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Vietnam. The bombing is estimated to have left between 1.9 million and 5.8 million cluster munitions remnants. Over 64,000 landmine and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) casualties have been recorded in Cambodia since 1979. With over 25,000 amputees Cambodia has the highest ratio of mine amputees per capita in the world.


    Pit, only two and with just one eye, needed only 11 minutes before he detected a deadly mine buried in a Cambodian field, work that humans with metal detectors could have taken up to five days to investigate.


    But Pit is not human. He is part of a team of elite rats, imported from Africa, that Cambodia is training to sniff out landmines that still dot the countryside after decades of conflict.


    "Under a clear sky, he would have been quicker," said Hul Sokheng, a veteran Cambodian deminer, who oversees training of 12 handlers on how to work with 15 large rats to clear Cambodia's farmland and rural villages of bombs.

    "These are life-saving rats," he said under rainy skies.





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