29 Jan 2022

Trish Johansen: tending to Cambodia's landmine-sniffing rats

From Saturday Morning, 9:40 am on 29 January 2022

New Zealand veterinarian Trish Johansen has been running a clinic in Siem Reap since 2015, and among her clients have been Cambodia’s remarkable landmine-clearing rats. The death of one such rat, Magawa, made world headlines earlier this month. In his five-year career working with APOPO, Magawa sniffed out over 100 landmines and other explosives, making more than 141,000 square metres of land safe for use - the equivalent of 20 football fields.

Clearing landmines continues to be essential and dangerous work - just before Magawa's death, three Cambodian demining experts were killed by anti-tank landmines that exploded as they tried to remove them.

Currently based in New Zealand, Johansen is also the founder of the charity Eradicating Rabies One Village at a Time.