SCOTLAND: In a strange development, scientists are training rats to rescue people trapped during earthquakes.
According to Newsweek, the innovative project is being worked on by research scientist Dr. Donna Kean from Glasgow, Scotland. The rodents are being trained to be sent into earthquake debris wearing tiny backpacks outfitted with microphones so that rescue teams can talk to survivors.
So far, around seven rats have been trained to respond to beeping sounds. At the moment, homemade prototype backpacks containing a microphone are being used, and scientists are sending the rodents into mock debris. Specialist backpacks containing microphones and video gear as well as location trackers will also be created in order to allow rescue teams to communicate with survivors during real earthquakes.
Newsweek reported that Dr Kean has been based in Morogoro, Tanzania, for one year, working with the non-profit organisation APOPO for a project named “Hero Rats”.
“Rats would be able to get into small spaces to get to victims buried in the rubble. We have not been in a real situation yet, we have got a mock debris site. 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,” Dr Kean was quoted as saying by Newsweek.