‘Smoking’ elephant at Nagarahole baffles experts

Mysuru: A video of a wild elephant blowing out something that appears to be like a smoke at Nagarahole has left wildlife lovers and experts baffled.

The video, which has gone viral on the social media, was shot by a Wildlife Conservation Society (India) Scientist when he and his team were visiting the forest.

The 48-second clip shows the female elephant picking up something from the forest floor, ingesting it and puffing out smoke giving the impression that it was smoking.

Dr. Varun R. Goswami, elephant biologist and senior scientist with WCS India Programme has said that the elephant was probably trying to ingest wood charcoal, as she appeared to be picking up something from the burnt forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it in her trunk, and consuming the rest.

He said “Charcoal has well-recognised toxin-binding properties, and although it may not have much nutritional content, wild animals may be attracted to it for its medicinal value.”

Meanwhile, a forest official said that the female elephant was picking up ash from the burnt lantana plants in its trunk and blowing it inside its mouth and added that the incident took place about a month back.

The official said that the Forest Department personnel were monitoring the female elephant since then and added that the elephant did not return to the spot.

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