HeroRATs: Sniffing Out Landmines and Tuberculosis

by APOPO vzw
Dec 21, 2010

December 2010 Newsletter

Happy HeroRAT Holidays!
Happy HeroRAT Holidays!

Holiday greetings from the HeroRAT team!

On behalf of all of us at HeroRAT headquarters, we wanted to extend a huge hero-sized thanks to you for following our life-saving work throughout 2010.  We’re so grateful for your ongoing support and appreciation for our heroes. 

It has been a productive year, and our HeroRATs are becoming more known for their sniffing abilities all over the world.  Here are a few highlights from some of the places we’ve appeared throughout the year:

2010 Progress: The Year in Review

The HeroRAT landmine-detection training program is constantly being refined to get our rats hero-ready even faster at our Center of Excellence in Tanzania.  In total, we currently have 195 rats in various stages of landmine detection training or accreditation procedures. 

Our Mozambique Mine Action team has made a huge impact in land clearance this year – with over 792,893 square meters of land returned to the local population!  In doing so, the HeroRAT team has found 860 landmines, 374 unexploded ordinance and 6,216 small arms and ammunitions.  That’s a lot of TNT!  Not only have countless landmine-related accidents been avoided, but barriers restricting development in affected communities have been lifted, and people are free to move about their land without fear.

In Tanzania, our HeroRAT team at the Tuberculosis (TB) detection center has been busy sniffing away to save lives.  In 2010, our TB-detection heroes have so far discovered over 594 TB-positive patients who were initially missed by traditional diagnostic methods.  As a result of these tireless efforts, more patients can begin their life-saving treatment sooner, thus significantly reducing the spread of TB.  In fact, using projections from the World Health Organization, we have helped to prevent at least 5,940 new cases of TB this year alone! 

On a lighter note, our breeding couples have thoroughly enjoyed the improvements that were made to our HeroRAT breeding program earlier this year.  They have shown their appreciation by increasing the number of births this year to 148 baby rats – our future heroes!

We are working on expanding our mine action work into Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, as well as embarking on a new continent – Asia – for initial landmine survey work along the Thai-Cambodian border.  Initial visits by members of the APOPO team have already taken place, in preparation for setting up and getting started in these new countries.

Our Remote Scent Tracing research program will also expand next year to look at other scent detection possibilities.  Our research and development team has a number of new proposals in the pipeline for the many potential applications of this work.  We’ll keep you posted along the way as plans for future applications continue to be developed and refined. 

Our Adopt-a-Rat Program has seen a great deal of support this year, with more and more of you taking action to help us save lives and limbs in communities in need! 

Don’t forget: our deadline for Holiday Gift Adoptions is 18 December, simply to guarantee delivery of your gift recipient’s HeroRAT adoption materials before 25 December.  Of course you are most welcome to adopt one of our HeroRATs anytime after the 18 December, and we’ll send your adoption materials as soon as we can!  Please visit our Adopt-a-Rat webpage for more details, or email the HeroRAT team at herorats@herorat.org.

Thank you so much to all of you who have contributed to our cause throughout 2010: we feel truly honored to have such a warm-hearted and dedicated group of supporters. 

On behalf of APOPO and the HeroRATs, we send you warmest wishes for a safe, happy and peaceful holidays, and a wonderful start to the coming year!

With gratitude,

The HeroRAT team







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Organization Information


Location: Morogoro, Tanzania - Tanzania, United Republic of
Website: http:/​/​www.apopo.org
Project Leader:
Paul Delbar
Public Fundraising Manager
Sokoine University, Morogoro Tanzania, United Republic of

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Thanks to 4,673 donors like you, a total of $250,162 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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