‘Smoking’ elephant baffles scientists, who can only speculate over what its doing

‘Smoking’ elephant baffles scientists, who can only speculate over what its doing

Outdoors

‘Smoking’ elephant baffles scientists, who can only speculate over what its doing

Wildlife Conservation Society field staff checking on camera traps in Nagarahole National Park in India stumbled upon the usual sight of what looked like an elephant smoking.

In a press release, the WCS described the “smoke-breathing” scene as the elephant picking up ash with its trunk, closing its mouth and blowing it back out in a cloud of smoke.

Vinay Kumar, assistant director with the WCS India Program, captured the video that has “WCS scientists and others scratching their heads.”

“I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal,” said Dr. Varun Goswami, WCS India scientist and elephant biologist. “She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest.”

Photo is a screen grab

The WCS surmises that the elephant might have been ingesting medicine, explaining, “Charcoal has toxin-binding properties that may provide medicinal value. Charcoal can also serve as a laxative, thereby doubling its utility for animals that consume it after forest fires, lightning strikes, or controlled burns.”

The discovery of the “smoking” elephant came as the WCS field staff visited camera-trap locations as part of a long-term project to study tigers and their prey.

The WCS’s mission is to “save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.”

Follow David Strege and BNQT Outdoors on Facebook  and Twitter.

The Latest

reply
14hr

A 57-year-old man hiking alone in Death Valley National Park on a day temperatures hit 115 degrees Fahrenheit died in a fall Monday, the national park announced in a news release Friday afternoon. The fiancée of Peter Rhoad of Huntington Beach, Calif., reported him (…)

reply
2d

Many creatures possess a remarkable ability to hide themselves thanks to their camouflaged coloring that blends in with their surroundings almost to the point where they become invisible. The creatures’ camouflaged makeup allows them to sneak up on its prey or to avoid (…)

reply
2d

Generations of skateboarders jumping in the van exploring the southwest U.S. Follow Lance Mountain, Hjalte Halberg, Cyrus Bennett, Oskar Rozenberg, Hugo Boserup, Max Palmer and Ville Wester through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in the new Blazers by Nike (…)

reply
2d

When the weather is unpredictable in England making a video in a weekend can be tough. Solution: go to sunny Barcelona, Spain and get it done. Mongoose pro, Paul Ryan brought along Matty Lambert to capture him riding over the weekend and made this great video.

reply
3d

BMX Dirt athlete Leandro Moreira does not hold back on his bag of tricks in the perfect lines of Caracas Trails. The trails were built in 1995 and with the hard work of locals and Leandro, have become a perfect playground for those who dare to conquer them!

More BNQT
Home