Rats are Being Trained to be Sent into Earthquake Debris Wearing Tiny ...
SWNS

‘Hero’ rats are being trained to save people trapped during earthquakes as part of a unique scientific project.

A group of talented rodents are being instructed to enter impacted zones with location trackers in order to locate survivors.

The rats have been trained to respond to beeping sounds, and they are equipped with small backpacks as well as microphones in order for people to communicate with rescue workers.

While it seems improbable, their diminutive size makes them well places to enter danger zones as the animals have never set off a landmine before.

Glasgow-based Dr Donna Kean is working on the unique project, which has been dubbed Hero Rats, with non-profit organisation APOPO.

The animals are set to be sent out to Turkey in order to be used in the field, with the country prone to earthquakes.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Kean said: "Rats would be able to get into small spaces to get to victims buried in rubble. We have not been in a real situation yet, we have got a mock debris site.

Dr Donna Kean is behind the unique projectSWNS

"When we get the new backpacks we will be able to hear from where we are based and where the rat is, inside the debris. We have the potential to speak to victims through the rat."

Speaking about the animals themselves, she added: "They can live off anything. They are very good at surviving in different environments which just shows how suitable they are for search and rescue work.

"They are very trainable, the first stage is to train them to come back to base point – they respond to a beep. There is a misconception they are dirty and unhygienic. They are well looked after with us, they are sociable animals.

"We hope it will be implemented, we are partnered with a search and rescue team in Turkey. It would just be a case of, as soon as an earthquake happens, arranging the transport.

“We are the only organisation working with this species, there are other organisations training dogs. We hope it will save lives, the results are really promising."

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)