Who would have guessed that rats excel at sniffing out land mines?
The rat in this video is having her final examination to determine whether she is ready to join the elite mine-detecting squad in Mozambique. She has to detect every mine in the test to pass; her trainers have zero-tolerance for failure. Mandy does splendidly, scratching out every mine and gobbling up banana rewards.
The rat-solution is a pretty cute way of dealing with a frighteningly large problem. Land mines kill 15,000 to 20,000 people every year across 78 countries. Since the 1960s 110 mines have been buried in the ground and many more are being laid down each year. 80% of deaths are civilian. Developing cheap and effective ways of avoiding mines could save many lives.