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Jul 31, 2018

Community training and healthy seedlings.

Welcome to our latest update!

From April to June 2018 our main focus was holding training sessions for staff, farmers and local communities as heavy rainfalls and a longer rainy season, followed by a dry period made transplanting trees in the mountains difficult.

Valuable training sessions were held regarding nursery and tree management in the village of Kisosa. The main focus of the training was the management of seedlings whilst in a nursery setting all the way through to transplantation into the field. As a result of the training, we've been able to identify that further steps can be taken to better the record-keeping of the seedlings which are transplanted.

In Choma village, we were delighted to see that one farmer has successfully planted over 250 seedlings of acrocarpus fraxinifolia and albezia rebbeck; some of the trees were planted close to river banks, and others as boundaries around his farm. The next steps for the nursery in Choma are to ensure that tree seedlings which are ready to be transplanted are taken by farmers at the right time to ensure optimal transplantation and successful growth. 

Due to the upcoming dry season, further transplantations will take place in September 2018 with several indigenous species to be included – at the moment the main trees in the area are pines, acrocarpus, cloves, and albezia.

It's thanks to wonderful donors like you that we're able to continue to educate and collaborate with local farmers and communities, introducing organic farming programmes & sustainable conservation projects to village communities in the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania.

Thank you!

Jul 31, 2018

16 ANGOLA RATS READY TO DETECT LANDMINES

Congratulations to our HeroRATs & Trainers.
Congratulations to our HeroRATs & Trainers.


This month, APOPO hosted two representatives from Angola’s national demining authority the National Intersectorial Commission for Humanitarian Demining and Assistance (CNIDAH), for the independent, external double-blind testing of 16 freshly trained and newly imported mine detection rats (MDR). 

The two days of testing were held in a former minefield previously cleared by APOPO with the assistance of now retired MDR. The test area had been specially prepared by CNIDAH the month prior with deactivated landmines planted for the MDR and their handlers to find.

The accreditation is “double-blind” because the MDR and the handlers are unaware of the locations of the targets, which are known only to CNIDAH who have them marked on a map. Each of 16 MDR were subjected to a search of 200 square metres, and all 16 of the MDR correctly indicated the targets within a one-meter radius of the target, with not a single one missed. This reflects the high level of mine detection skill of the MDR and their handlers as well as the quality of the breeding and training at APOPO’s Headquarters and training centre in Morogoro, Tanzania.

I credit APOPO’s training team in Tanzania for preparing a fine group of detection rats, which quickly acclimatised to our premises in Uíge, and demonstrated strong positive behaviour that is easy for handlers to recognise." Zacarias - MDR Supervisor.

I was excited to meet the 16 new MDRs at the airport in Luanda after having waited anxiously for them since they departed APOPO’s headquarters in early May. They have impressively proved themselves as Angola’s next team of mine detection rats to take on our next tasked minefields in Angola. With accreditation now out of the way, as soon as we have the certificate from CNIDAH in Luanda, APOPO will immediately deploy the MDR to an ongoing task in Uíge Province located in the district of Quitexe. The minefield was a former military position and camp, and once free from all hazards, the area will used for expansion of the nearby village and for agriculture." Alfredo - MDR Supervisor.

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APOPO sincerely thanks our wonderful donors and partners for making APOPO’s life-saving work in Angola possible.

Successful mine detection means lives saved.
Successful mine detection means lives saved.
Home time after a day well done.
Home time after a day well done.
Jul 6, 2018

Ratticus Finch - Making A Difference

Danger lurks beyond.
Danger lurks beyond.

We're delighted to be able to provide you with your quarterly update for your adopted HeroRAT, Ratticus Finch.

In the months of April, May and June 2018, Ratticus Finch worked hard to clear a sizable 5820 square meters of land in just 839 minutes. Their sensitive nose and expert training led them to find 2 anti-personnel mines and 1 item of unexploded ordnance.

Ratticus Finch has already made a life-changing impact in Cambodia, a country with the highest ratio of mine amputees per capita in the world. During the Vietnam War, at least 26 million explosive sub-munitions were dropped on Cambodia, mostly in eastern and north-eastern areas. The bombing is estimated to have left upwards of 5 million cluster munition remnants and over 64 thousand landmine and other Explosive Remnants of War casualties have been recorded in Cambodia since 1979. 

It's thanks to incredible supporters like you that we're able to continue our fight against landmines; deploying cost-efficient mine action solutions in affected countries whilst pushing forward our research and development in to innovative detection rats technology. 

Ratticus Finch in Action

Through clicker/reward training, HeroRATs like Ratticus Finch are taught to scratch the earth above a landmine. During training, when a successful target is identified, our rats hear a 'click' and receive a reward. Ratticus Finch's training means he is able to identify items with an explosive scent making him faster and more efficient than a metal detector which also identifies scrap metal. 

Every task requires a combination of assets from APOPO's comprehensive mine action tool box that includes a survey, metal detectors, and machines. It is however the Mine Detection Rats like Ratticus Finch that set us apart from other conventional methods. 

You can find out more about our landmine detection process by clicking HERE.

Ratticus Finch in action.
Ratticus Finch in action.
The landmine detection setup.
The landmine detection setup.
 
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