I train giant rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis. I am Dr. Cindy Fast, Head of Training and Behavioral Research at APOPO, AMA!
My short bio: Dr. Cindy Fast holds a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in Psychology specialising in Learning and Behaviour and Behavioural Neuroscience from UCLA. Cindy has more than ten years of experience conducting behavioural research with a variety of species including rats, mice, pigeons, hermit crabs, and horses.
In September Cindy moved from the US to take on her new role at APOPO. Dr. Fast plans to use her knowledge and expertise to optimize training and performance of the HeroRATs.
My Proof: Dr. Cindy Fast with Jones the HeroRAT.
About APOPO: APOPO is a non-profit that trains rats to save lives. Based in Tanzania, the organisation has pioneered the development of scent detection rats, nicknamed HeroRATs.
APOPO's landmine detection rats have helped sniff out more than 100,000 mines helping to free nearly one million people from the threat of explosives.
APOPO's tuberculosis detection rats have safely sniffed more than 350,000 sputum samples identifying 10,000 additional cases of TB that were missed by clinics.
APOPO website - https://www.apopo.org/en/
Adopt or gift a HeroRAT - https://support.apopo.org/en/adopt
Donate - https://support.apopo.org/en/donate
Dr. Fast will begin answering questions at 12pm EST.
EDIT - It's late night in Tanzania and Dr Fast has had to retire for the evening. Our Fundraising Manager, Robin Toal, will take over from here on out but will need to report back on any particularly tricky questions. Big thanks for all your questions, it's been a blast!
EDIT 2 - It's time to say goodnight (UK here). I'll pop back in the morning and will ask Dr Fast to answer a selection of the questions we didn't get to tonight. Thanks for your questions and if you're looking for a holiday gift you can't go wrong with a HeroRAT adoption.