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"Mistaking planning for strategy is a common trap. "
A small army of landmine-detecting rats is to be redeployed in Mozambique in a push to meet a deadline to have the country declared free of mines this year.
Belgian non-governmental organisation Apopo trains African giant pouched rats to sniff out the explosives in landmines by conditioning them to associate the scent with rewards of food.
The rats undergo nine months of training, learning to sniff out the explosives in old landmines buried underground. They scratch the ground to alert their handlers to mines.
The rodents are quick learners and easy to work with, according to Alson Majanzota, leader of one of Apopo’s rat handling teams. The animals can check 200sq m of land for mines in 30 minutes; a human armed with a metal detector could take up to three days to do the same job, he adds.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. "