|Close up of elephant.|
In Bela-Bela, a small town north of Pretoria, researchers conducted smelling tests on the largest land animal on Earth, elephants. These magnificent animals, were able to pick up on the scent of explosives 73 out of 74 times from a line of buckets. The elephants scored 23 out of 23 in the second bunch of tests, when odors such as tea, bleach, soap and gasoline, acting as distractions, were used.
Researchers wanted to figure out why elephants were avoiding certain areas within the country. They believed it was one of the two; the elephants could smell the explosives or they avoided the areas where elephants had lost their lives in previous blasts.
|An elephant backside.|
Elephants have an extraordinary sense of smell with around 2,000 genes for picking up scents, more than any other animal on Earth. Their nostrils are found at the tip of the trunk and help with breathing, smelling and sucking in water to squirt into their mouths. Elephant trunks are constantly being used, swinging back and forth, picking up new scents.While dogs and rats are also able to sniff out explosives, an elephant can detect the smell of an explosive from a 100 metres away.