A team of researchers in Tanzania is working on training an unlikely candidate for disaster rescues of humans.
The Belgian organization Apopo is heading up the project to use giant African pouched rats with tiny, high-tech camera backpacks, to enter into spaces to assist rescue workers in finding survivors.
The rats can access areas of rubble where it might be more challenging for human rescue workers.
In previous studies, CNN reported, researchers have been known to train rats to sniff out land minds or detect tuberculosis.
The Apopo project has used the giant African pouched rats in their 10-year-old project to improve their study of how the animals can assist in rescues.
In a disaster like an earthquake or a hurricane, rescue teams fight against time to find as many survivors as possible.
The research project uses the giant African pouched rat because they survive longer while in captivity compared to the common brown rat.