Throughout the world, places that have been involved in war and/or civil strife often have large minefields that still need clearing.
In 2013, it was estimated that
there was a global average of around nine mine-related deaths every day. The
situation is especially dire in Africa.
Typically, clearing a minefield involves men in body armor walking in very
precise lines with metal detectors.
Anything (from a rusty nail to an old
ammo cartridge) that sets the detectors off must be investigated before moving
A new method of bomb detection using rats, however, is flipping this
process on its head.
A Belgian NGO called APOPO has developed a way to
train African pouched rats (named for the storage pouch in their cheeks) to sniff
out bombs quickly and safely.