Elephant caught ‘smoking’ on camera leaves researchers baffled.
A video shot in India appears to show a pachyderm puffing large clouds of smoke, and it’s left scientists fully stumped.
Field staff for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) India Program captured an elephant in Nagarahole National Park in India picking up something with its trunk, putting a pile of the stuff in its mouth and then blowing it back out in a big cloud worthy of the most decadent smoke break.
It’s unclear that anything was actually smoldering in the video, though. In fact, it may be that the elephant was actually blowing dry ash off something else it was trying to eat.
“I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal,” WCS India scientist and elephant biologist Varun Goswami said in a statement. “She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest.”
Anyone who’s ever dabbled with activated charcoal may not be surprised by this animal’s odd choice of snack. Charcoal is known to bind to toxins and provide medicinal value. It’s also a laxative, helping to get rid of any toxins it picks up.
Perhaps that explanation provides a little too much information about what’s really going on. Let’s just go back to pretending we caught an elephant on its smoke break.