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Just received an email from APOPO, the home of HeroRATs, and now I'm a little choked up. Who would have thought the loss of a little rat on the other side of the world could start this old cynic weeping.

Dear friend of the HeroRATs,

I hope this letter finds you well! We have not met each other yet, but I am excited to get to know you and hope we become great friends. My name is Mojo, and you may be wondering why you are hearing from me, and not Ziko…

Well, I am writing on behalf of all HeroRATs to update you with some very sad news. Ziko the HeroRAT recently passed away in Mozambique as a result of a sudden health complication. We all know that these things happen sometimes in the lives of rats, but it is a shame that it should have happened to Ziko, who loved his work and was truly an inspiration to all HeroRATs. For me, as a Mine Detection Rat-in-training, he was my hero and will always serve as my motivation.

I am writing this letter not only to inform you of the sad news, but also to introduce myself. Although we have had this unforeseen loss, don't worry: the HeroRATs will not abandon you. Instead, you will now be receiving quarterly letters from me, Mojo.

When the HeroRAT team asked me if I was up to this task, I was nervous, but also determined. It will be an honor to follow in the pawprints of the great Ziko. And although my letters may be a bit different from Ziko’s dispatches from the field in Mozambique, I think you and I will become a great team!

In fact, I may be early in my training, but some veteran heroes say that I remind them of the young Ziko, thanks to our enthusiasm for our work (and a knack for guessing which pocket on a trainer’s jacket is hiding a banana treat)! That idea just fills me with a determination to carry on his important mission of saving lives and limbs - and keeping in touch with his loyal supporters.

We are very grateful for your involvement in our work, and your belief in our potential. Thank you for making it all possible – no HeroRAT could do it without you.

Love and whiskers,

Mojo the HeroRAT


Ziko working a mine field.

Back in February of 2011, my Veterans For Peace chapter adopted Ziko and I posted a , diary about it.

Last week at our monthly business meeting, members of Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 voted to adopt a HeroRat.

Why did we adopt a HeroRat?

HeroRATs are saving lives, sniffing out dangers such as landmines and disease. We are true heroes, working hand-in-hand with humans to create safer communities and a better world. A fully-trained HeroRAT can identify landmines quickly and efficiently, or can sniff out deadly pulmonary tuberculosis faster than traditional laboratory microscopy. Not only that, we work for peanuts!

In short, HeroRATs provide a simple, innovative solution to some of the complex global problems facing humankind today. By working together, we can save even more lives and limbs.

HeroRATs is a public campaign to raise awareness about APOPO's work. APOPO's mission is to train and disseminate sniffer rats to save human lives by detecting landmines and disease.

The Economist Magazine did a 7 min documentary you can watch on Youtube
 You can adopt a HeroRAT for only 5 Euro a month and help rid the world of landmines.

RIP little buddy.

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