Born in May 2013 in Morogoro, Tanzania, Mark is a young, energetic rat that is being trained to detect landmines. HeroRats like Mark have found over 2,700 landmines by correctly identifying TNT odors in active landmine fields in Mozambique. With the help of their human colleagues, HeroRats have cleared over 7,800,000 sq meters of land. Mark is full of energy and loves banana treats as a positive reward for his good work. His hobbies include grooming, tunneling, and the Friday Feast.
Dozens of countries around the world are affected by landmines. They pose a significant structural barrier to development and economic growth to the nearby communities. Currently, many developing countries are under pressure to meet their Ottawa Treaty commitments to become landmine free. Further, the detection of landmines is dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming. Therefore, APOPO has stepped up its war on landmines and aims to spread the use of its unique rat detection technology.
APOPO's trained mine detection rats provide a cheap, efficient and effective solution to the global landmine problem. For example, two of APOPO's mine detection rats, working with two human handlers, can cover 400 square meters of land in one hour. In comparison, two manual deminers using metal detectors, will need two full days to cover the same area.
By creating local employment and encouraging development, APOPO provides a cost-effective solution to global humanitarian challenges. The work of our trained rats reduces landmine casualties, and enables communities to utilize their land for agricultural purposes or infrastructure development. Also, fast, effective TB diagnosis means patients can access treatment sooner, reducing the spread of the deadly virus and limiting the impact on the patient's family and the wider community.
TEDx talk by APOPO Founder Bart Weetjens
The Economist slideshow
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