Towards the end of last year, near Christmas time, BOLDEN International decided to support the non-profit organization APOPO by sponsoring three African giant-pouched rats. HeroRATS is a project run by the NGO to assist in the clearance of mines and the fight against tuberculosis in parts of Africa.
By now, our little heroes have been born and have been names as follows:
born 15/12/15 / Gasia
born 16/12/15 / Hodari
"the Intelligent" "the Brave" "the Strong"
Since first opening their eyes in mid-January, our four-legged heroes have now officially kicked off their nine-months training. Each rat has their own trainer, who is responsible for sensitizing the rodent for human contact. Trainers spend one hour daily carrying around their little trainees to socialize the rodents to the sounds, sights and textures of the human world.
When training officially begins, the rats soon learn that they will receive a delicious food reward upon detection of a specific target scent – either that of the explosive TNT or that of the tuberculosis virus. Once they have passed the so-called “clicker training”, they are ready to move on to their first real field test
„Rats have a distinct advantage over dogs“, APOPO state on their website. „A rat’s nose is always close to the ground, even if it lifts its head. “ And that is simply where the important smells are at their most intense.
As each small hero is meant to specialize on one specific scent only, either TNT or TB, in order to make APOPO’s work more effective, BOLDEN International was asked to make a decision for each of our three sponsored rats at the beginning of February:
Going forward, Dhakija und Gasira will assist in the detection of land mines.
Hodari will help prevent the spread of tuberculosis.
We wish our HeroRATS all the best for the next stages of their training and will keep you updated about our heroes’ progress soon.