This year, Mozambique is projected to be declared landmine free for the first time in 50 years, largely to the help landmine detecting rats.
The first time I heard this story was on a PBS documentary two years ago. I raved about how cool these rats were to anyone who would listen, which wasn't a lot of folk because of the ratty subject matter. Then, I learned how these rats continue to save thousands of more lives due to their insane scent abilities through detecting tuberculosis. Watch this TED talk from Bart Weetjens, the man who initiated the idea of using rats as landmine detectors. His idea not only saved thousands of dollars to the previous method of using dogs, but also increased the success and safety rate (because dogs had to be constantly handled by their trainers and were heavy enough to detonate the mines themselves). Weetjens story isn't about rats themselves, but about figuring out how to utilize the everyday things around you that could be the solution to a problem. Read more the incredible story on landmine detecting rats here.