APOPO is a special NGO who work with African Giant Pouched Rats (also known as Hero Rats) to detect landmines and tuberculosis using their extraordinary sense of smell. APOPO’s training and research center is based in Tanzania with over 220 people across 7 projects in 6 countries; of which Cambodia is a key site.
APOPO’s smart Siem Reap visitor’s centre is located on the road to Angkor Wat and provides guests with the opportunity to learn how the Hero Rats detect TNT using their remarkable sense of smell. It also shows the tireless efforts being made to clear rural areas of landmines after decades of conflict. Our special behind the scenes experience gives you the chance to meet the MDRs (Mine Detection Rats) and their handlers to experience first-hand how they clear a mock up mine field. Then enjoy a photo opportunity together!
The Hero Rats are too light to detonate landmines so face no risk while at work. They enjoy spacious, cool lodgings at the centre with plenty of fresh fruit and attention from their keepers. They never work longer than 3-4 hours a day and have sun cream carefully applied to their ears and tails while on duty. A rat will typically retire after 4 years of service.