Decades of civil war and international conflict has left The Kingdom of Cambodia with a legacy that is a constant reminder of their deadly past. At least 26 million explosive sub-munitions were dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War, leaving Cambodia with the highest ratio of mine amputees per capita in the world. For decades, communities have lived off these hazardous lands with little resources and information available to them, the threat of these remnants continually obstructing economic and social development in the affected areas.  Today however, there is an unlikely hero sniffing their way to a future free from explosives. Meet the African Giant Pouched Rats. With a fierce sense of smell and a body too light to set off landmines, these rats are trained to sniff out the TNT in the landmine and let their handlers know by giving the ground a scratch. In an area that would normally take a human with a metal detector four days to clear, the Hero Rats (as they are affectionately nicknamed) will only take 20 minutes, as they are not tricked by any scrap metal or shrapnel lying in the ground. The Rats are operating in Srey Nouy area of Siem Reap, where suspect land along roads and farmland has not been safe to use for almost 30 years.   With millions of live cluster munitions and landmines still undetected in Cambodia alone, these rats are a powerful tool to help rid the country of explosive remnants of war and to give contaminated farm land back to its people.
       
     
  APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia     The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 
       
     
  As part of their training the rats are leashed onto a measuring tape 10m apart in a box formation with one trainer on each side, early morning in Siem Reap.     The rat runs along the measure and stops when it smells the TNT and scratches to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 
       
     
  As part of their training the rats are leashed onto a measuring tape 10m apart in a box formation with one trainer on each side, early morning in Siem Reap.     The rat runs along the measure and stops when it smells TNT and scratches to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 
       
     
  As part of their training the rats are given banana as a reward once a positive indication has been made, early morning in Siem Reap.     The rats are tethered to the measuring line and stops when they smell the TNT. A scratch of the surface is used to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 
       
     
  The APOPO Hero Rats are nocturnal with very poor eye sight, they use their long whiskers and precise sense of smell to navigate. It is for this incredible sense of smell that they are were chosen for bomb detection training in Cambodia after their recent success clearing landmines in Mozambique. Reports confirm these Hero Rats were able to help clear Mozambique of land mines one year earlier than indicated (  https://www.apopo.org/en/mine-action/projects/cambodia  ). Siem Reap, Cambodia 22  nd   January 2016. 
       
     
  APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia     The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 
       
     
  Hero Rat being strapped into their harness as training begins early morning at a cleared mine field in Siem Reap, Cambodia. APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia     The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 
       
     
  What was once a live mine field is now the training site for the APOPO Hero Rats. Deactivated land mines are hidden underground and used as training. The rats are trained to only   scratch when they smell TNT emanating from the ground where the mine is hidden. False ‘smells’ like tuna and other foods are   also hidden to trick the rats into making false indications   –   a rat can only make two false signals before being taken out of training. 
       
     
  The African giant-pouched rats are nocturnal and can only be used during the early morning hours before the sun gets too hot. The rats begin to tire and become agitated, giving off less positive indications. This is when the trainers know it  ’  s time to finish training for the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 
       
     
  Each Hero Rat is named individually to assist in the trainer / rat bonding. Donations can be made online and individuals may sponsor and name a rat to help with funding. Siem Reap, Cambodia, 22  nd   January 2016
       
     
  Trainers place their rats back into their cages after the morning training session where they are fed, cleaned and can now sleep for the rest of the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia
       
     
  Trainers place their rats back into their cages after the morning training session where they are fed, cleaned and can now sleep for the rest of the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 
       
     
  Land mines that have been excavated and deactivated in the effort to rid Cambodia of the remnants of war. Unlike metal detectors that give a signal for any piece of scrap metal, APOPO hero rats are trained specifically to only to smell the TNT residing in the landmine, meaning they can also indicate when plastic mines are used. They are also light enough they will not set off the land mine, where sniffer dogs are too heavy and can potentially activate an explosion. 
       
     
 Decades of civil war and international conflict has left The Kingdom of Cambodia with a legacy that is a constant reminder of their deadly past. At least 26 million explosive sub-munitions were dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War, leaving Cambodia with the highest ratio of mine amputees per capita in the world. For decades, communities have lived off these hazardous lands with little resources and information available to them, the threat of these remnants continually obstructing economic and social development in the affected areas.  Today however, there is an unlikely hero sniffing their way to a future free from explosives. Meet the African Giant Pouched Rats. With a fierce sense of smell and a body too light to set off landmines, these rats are trained to sniff out the TNT in the landmine and let their handlers know by giving the ground a scratch. In an area that would normally take a human with a metal detector four days to clear, the Hero Rats (as they are affectionately nicknamed) will only take 20 minutes, as they are not tricked by any scrap metal or shrapnel lying in the ground. The Rats are operating in Srey Nouy area of Siem Reap, where suspect land along roads and farmland has not been safe to use for almost 30 years.   With millions of live cluster munitions and landmines still undetected in Cambodia alone, these rats are a powerful tool to help rid the country of explosive remnants of war and to give contaminated farm land back to its people.
       
     

Decades of civil war and international conflict has left The Kingdom of Cambodia with a legacy that is a constant reminder of their deadly past. At least 26 million explosive sub-munitions were dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War, leaving Cambodia with the highest ratio of mine amputees per capita in the world. For decades, communities have lived off these hazardous lands with little resources and information available to them, the threat of these remnants continually obstructing economic and social development in the affected areas.

Today however, there is an unlikely hero sniffing their way to a future free from explosives. Meet the African Giant Pouched Rats. With a fierce sense of smell and a body too light to set off landmines, these rats are trained to sniff out the TNT in the landmine and let their handlers know by giving the ground a scratch. In an area that would normally take a human with a metal detector four days to clear, the Hero Rats (as they are affectionately nicknamed) will only take 20 minutes, as they are not tricked by any scrap metal or shrapnel lying in the ground. The Rats are operating in Srey Nouy area of Siem Reap, where suspect land along roads and farmland has not been safe to use for almost 30 years.


With millions of live cluster munitions and landmines still undetected in Cambodia alone, these rats are a powerful tool to help rid the country of explosive remnants of war and to give contaminated farm land back to its people.

  APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia     The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 
       
     

APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 

  As part of their training the rats are leashed onto a measuring tape 10m apart in a box formation with one trainer on each side, early morning in Siem Reap.     The rat runs along the measure and stops when it smells the TNT and scratches to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 
       
     

As part of their training the rats are leashed onto a measuring tape 10m apart in a box formation with one trainer on each side, early morning in Siem Reap.

The rat runs along the measure and stops when it smells the TNT and scratches to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 

  As part of their training the rats are leashed onto a measuring tape 10m apart in a box formation with one trainer on each side, early morning in Siem Reap.     The rat runs along the measure and stops when it smells TNT and scratches to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 
       
     

As part of their training the rats are leashed onto a measuring tape 10m apart in a box formation with one trainer on each side, early morning in Siem Reap.

The rat runs along the measure and stops when it smells TNT and scratches to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 

  As part of their training the rats are given banana as a reward once a positive indication has been made, early morning in Siem Reap.     The rats are tethered to the measuring line and stops when they smell the TNT. A scratch of the surface is used to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 
       
     

As part of their training the rats are given banana as a reward once a positive indication has been made, early morning in Siem Reap.

The rats are tethered to the measuring line and stops when they smell the TNT. A scratch of the surface is used to indicate that they have found the explosive. Every rat has to clear an area of 200 m2 in less than 20 minutes, cannot miss any of the mines and can only give 2 false positive indications. 

  The APOPO Hero Rats are nocturnal with very poor eye sight, they use their long whiskers and precise sense of smell to navigate. It is for this incredible sense of smell that they are were chosen for bomb detection training in Cambodia after their recent success clearing landmines in Mozambique. Reports confirm these Hero Rats were able to help clear Mozambique of land mines one year earlier than indicated (  https://www.apopo.org/en/mine-action/projects/cambodia  ). Siem Reap, Cambodia 22  nd   January 2016. 
       
     

The APOPO Hero Rats are nocturnal with very poor eye sight, they use their long whiskers and precise sense of smell to navigate. It is for this incredible sense of smell that they are were chosen for bomb detection training in Cambodia after their recent success clearing landmines in Mozambique. Reports confirm these Hero Rats were able to help clear Mozambique of land mines one year earlier than indicated (https://www.apopo.org/en/mine-action/projects/cambodia). Siem Reap, Cambodia 22nd January 2016. 

  APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia     The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 
       
     

APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 

  Hero Rat being strapped into their harness as training begins early morning at a cleared mine field in Siem Reap, Cambodia. APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia     The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 
       
     

Hero Rat being strapped into their harness as training begins early morning at a cleared mine field in Siem Reap, Cambodia. APOPO Hero Rats are carefully trained and form a special bond with their trainers, they begin bomb detection training early morning at a cleared mine field Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Hero Rats are currently in testing overseen by the Cambodian Mine Action Authorities (CMAA) and experts of CMAC. The rats and their handlers have to prove their quality, safety, efficiency and suitability in detecting mines, in line with International Mine Action Standard (IMAS). 

  What was once a live mine field is now the training site for the APOPO Hero Rats. Deactivated land mines are hidden underground and used as training. The rats are trained to only   scratch when they smell TNT emanating from the ground where the mine is hidden. False ‘smells’ like tuna and other foods are   also hidden to trick the rats into making false indications   –   a rat can only make two false signals before being taken out of training. 
       
     

What was once a live mine field is now the training site for the APOPO Hero Rats. Deactivated land mines are hidden underground and used as training. The rats are trained to only scratch when they smell TNT emanating from the ground where the mine is hidden. False ‘smells’ like tuna and other foods are also hidden to trick the rats into making false indications a rat can only make two false signals before being taken out of training. 

  The African giant-pouched rats are nocturnal and can only be used during the early morning hours before the sun gets too hot. The rats begin to tire and become agitated, giving off less positive indications. This is when the trainers know it  ’  s time to finish training for the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 
       
     

The African giant-pouched rats are nocturnal and can only be used during the early morning hours before the sun gets too hot. The rats begin to tire and become agitated, giving off less positive indications. This is when the trainers know its time to finish training for the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

  Each Hero Rat is named individually to assist in the trainer / rat bonding. Donations can be made online and individuals may sponsor and name a rat to help with funding. Siem Reap, Cambodia, 22  nd   January 2016
       
     

Each Hero Rat is named individually to assist in the trainer / rat bonding. Donations can be made online and individuals may sponsor and name a rat to help with funding. Siem Reap, Cambodia, 22nd January 2016

  Trainers place their rats back into their cages after the morning training session where they are fed, cleaned and can now sleep for the rest of the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia
       
     

Trainers place their rats back into their cages after the morning training session where they are fed, cleaned and can now sleep for the rest of the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia

  Trainers place their rats back into their cages after the morning training session where they are fed, cleaned and can now sleep for the rest of the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 
       
     

Trainers place their rats back into their cages after the morning training session where they are fed, cleaned and can now sleep for the rest of the day. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

  Land mines that have been excavated and deactivated in the effort to rid Cambodia of the remnants of war. Unlike metal detectors that give a signal for any piece of scrap metal, APOPO hero rats are trained specifically to only to smell the TNT residing in the landmine, meaning they can also indicate when plastic mines are used. They are also light enough they will not set off the land mine, where sniffer dogs are too heavy and can potentially activate an explosion. 
       
     

Land mines that have been excavated and deactivated in the effort to rid Cambodia of the remnants of war. Unlike metal detectors that give a signal for any piece of scrap metal, APOPO hero rats are trained specifically to only to smell the TNT residing in the landmine, meaning they can also indicate when plastic mines are used. They are also light enough they will not set off the land mine, where sniffer dogs are too heavy and can potentially activate an explosion.