Arwen’s whiskers fluttered vigorously as she gobbled down a mouthful of banana—her reward for a job well done. To accommodate her misshapen left ear, she was fitted with a new candy apple red vest and was now showing real promise in her training. Like all African giant pouched rats, Arwen’s highly developed sense of smell can rival even a bloodhound; she is learning to use her powerful nose to distinguish specific scents. If successful, Arwen will join a new cohort of APOPO’s aptly named “HeroRATs,” who are using their olfactory super powers to fight wildlife crime.
The enormous dust cloud could be the biggest and most intense Saharan plume in 50 years, say some experts.