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Ask the experts: How hero rats save lives

June 30, 2019 @ 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Pictured: Speaker and ‘hero rat’ expert, Bart Weetjens from APOPO

Find out all about the incredible rats that are trained to save lives. The so-called ‘heroRATS’ are taught how to use scent to detect hidden landmines in war-torn countries. The rodents are very quick at finding them, and too light to detonate them. They’ll also ignore scrap metal and only detect the explosive scent, making them much faster at sourcing landmines than metal detectors.

The rats can also be trained to use their acute sense of smell to quickly test human sputum samples for Tuberculosis, which is one of the biggest killers in developing countries. Any suspect samples are then re-checked using WHO endorsed confirmation tests. A TB detection rat can check 100 sputum samples for TB in as little as 20 minutes. This would typically take a lab technician up to 4 days using conventional microscopy.

The African Giant Pouched Rats are trained in an ethical, caring way by APOPO – a non-profit making organisation. We’re delighted that the Founder, Bart Weetjens, will be flying in from Belgium to give the talk in the Show Theatre. You can also meet two African Giant Pouched Rats!

Sponsored by UK Pouchies.

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