Landmines, the deadly leftovers from war, still litter many parts of the world. No one knows how many active landmines there are in Africa, but estimates are in the millions. Clearing them out is expensive and dangerous.
Even if there are no landmines present, people can be affected by the fear that they are there. There can be no real development in communities where people live in fear of getting blown up when they get water or firewood or try to farm the land.
Although they have a bad reputation world wide, Weetjens has shown that rats can be as heroic as people and dogs. His rats have saved thousands and continue to do so.
The African pouched rats are highly intelligent and social with a keen sense of smell. They are trained to sniff out landmines, but small enough not to trigger explosions. No rat has been killed in a minefield.
The rats normally live up to eight years, but when they turn six, they are retired to live out their lives as heroes, munching on fruit and being loved and cared for by their handlers.
They may not seem cuddly to us but I wonder if it would be different if they had bushy tails.
More information Ted Talks: Bart Weetjens “How I taught rats to sniff out land mines"