Recently a wild Asian elephant at Nagarahole National Park in India was caught on camera smoking. No, he didn’t light up a Parliament or a cigar, but he was ingesting wood charcoal and blowing out the ashes.
But this particular elephant isn’t dumb, and isn’t scoffing at the dangers associated with smoking. To the contrary, the intelligent beast was “smoking” because the practice is apparently medicinal for the animals. According to the Smithsonian, charcoal “is known for its ability to bind with toxins and works as a laxative. So eating the charcoal may serve as a sort of wildlife medicine for the elephant.” The elephant probably needed to be a little more, ahem, regular. And this rare video, by Mr. Vinay Kumar, assistant director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s India Program, was able to capture it.
THE SMOKING #ELEPHANT! This video taken by our colleague Mr Vinay Kumar, captures a wild Asian Elephant exhibiting incredibly unusual behaviour–ingesting charcoal and blowing out the ashes! He recalls the incredible sighting in detail: https://t.co/cn3ooLBanD @TheWCS pic.twitter.com/DpUyf5w4vA
— WCS-India (@WCSIndia) March 24, 2018
Of course, at first glance, it might look like something else:
Puff puff pass https://t.co/0jdbHoVEjk
— Quasmic Cam, Esq. (@MrC2daG) March 26, 2018
And I’m not sure that this is what Dr. Seuss had in mind, but maybe…?
This person makes a good point about how knowledgeable these “experts” are…
If they're baffled by this, I really don't see how they could be experts on smoking elephants https://t.co/4WbjdRW4PS
— A Friendly Slacker (@we_locusts) March 27, 2018
And then there’s this:
Scientists: This is baffling behavior. What complexities are at work in this elephant's mind?
Elephant: [thinking] I AM SMAUG, KING UNDER THE MOUNTAIN! https://t.co/4kD4scyu58
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) March 27, 2018
Maybe the elephant is a teenager and really needs to get in with the popular crowd to feel accepted:
Or… she was trying to impress her friends. Just throwing that out there. https://t.co/EU3LqHei9z
— Martin Walker Brown (@BaronBridlePath) March 27, 2018
Oops, he was busted!