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8 animals helping humans save the planet

By: Sidney Stevens on Nov. 18, 2011, 8:37 a.m.
A mule in Brazil

Photo: Dario Sanches/Wikimedia Commons [CC by SA-2.0]

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In 1959, a partial meltdown occurred in a nuclear reactor at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, 30 miles outside Los Angeles. Government officials are conducting an investigation to see if any radiation lingers at the former rocket engine and nuclear research facility. Helping them look for signs of contamination are two mules — Sarah and Little Kate — who are tasked with wandering the rugged, hilly terrain around the facility carrying gamma radiation scanning equipment (neither Sarah nor Little Kate is pictured here). Whether you agree about subjecting animals to potential hazards, there’s no denying that this mule duo is providing invaluable data that will make the world safer for humans and nonhumans alike.