Magawa the Tanzanian rat, who was awarded a gold medal for his heroism in 2020 and retired from his job of detecting landmines in 2021, has died.

In a five-year career, the rodent sniffed out over 100 landmines and other explosives in Cambodia.

But his handler Malen said the then seven-year-old African giant pouched rat was “slowing down” as he reached old age, and she wanted to “respect his needs”. Unfortunately, at the age of 8, Magawa passed away.

Magawa the Tanzanian rat

It said Magawa was in good health and “spent most of last week playing with his usual enthusiasm”. But by the weekend “he started to slow down, napping more and showing less interest in food in his last days”.

Magawa was born in Morogoro, Tanzania in 2014 and was trained at Sokoine University of Agriculture.

In 2016, Magawa moved to Cambodia’s north-western city of Siem Reap, home of the famed Angkor temples, to begin his bomb-sniffing career.