Rat Receives British Charity’s Highest Honor for Animal Bravery

In a remarkable turn of events, a rat has been awarded a British charity’s highest honor for animal bravery. The rat, named Magawa, has been recognized for his life-saving work in Cambodia, where he has been trained to detect landmines. This is the first time that a rat has received such an honor, marking a significant moment in the history of animal bravery awards.

Who is Magawa?

Magawa is an African giant pouched rat, trained by the Belgian non-profit organization APOPO to detect landmines and other unexploded ordnance in Cambodia. He is the most successful rat in the program, having discovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance to date. His work has helped to clear over 141,000 square meters of land, making it safe for local people to use.

What is the award?

The award is the PDSA Gold Medal, often referred to as the “animal’s George Cross”. It is awarded by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), and is considered the highest honor any animal can receive for bravery and devotion to duty. The award was instituted in 2002 and has been awarded to 30 animals, including dogs, horses, and a cat. Magawa is the first rat to receive the award.

Why was Magawa awarded?

Magawa was awarded for his exceptional work in detecting landmines and unexploded ordnance in Cambodia. His work has not only saved countless lives but also helped to reclaim land that was previously unusable due to the presence of these dangerous items. His bravery and dedication to his work have been recognized as being of the highest order.

What does this mean for the future?

The awarding of the PDSA Gold Medal to Magawa signifies a growing recognition of the important role that animals can play in humanitarian work. It highlights the potential for animals to be trained in tasks that are dangerous for humans, such as detecting landmines. This could open up new possibilities for the use of animals in similar roles in the future.


The awarding of the PDSA Gold Medal to Magawa is a significant moment in the history of animal bravery awards. It recognizes the important work that animals like Magawa do in saving human lives and improving the quality of life for people in areas affected by landmines. It is a testament to the bravery, dedication, and potential of animals in humanitarian work.