Wild elephant caught 'smoking' in Nagarhole National Park: Watch Video

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 28 March 2018, 08:22 AM
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A video clip of a wild elephant in India blowing out ashes has creates ripples and left many wildlife experts baffled around the world.

In the video, the female elephant is seen standing near a burnt forest floor. She exhales the ashes-which appear as puffs of smoke-before walking away.

The 48-second clip was shot by Vinay Kumar, a scientist belonging to the Wildlife Conservation Society (India).

It was during his work trip to Nagarhole forest in Karnataka state in April 2016.

According to the reports of BBC, he did not release the video until now because he did not "quite realise its importance".

Meanwhile, Scientists say that they are still not clear why the elephant was blowing ashes.

"This is the first known video-documentation of a wild elephant exhibiting such behaviour, and this has scientists and experts puzzled," a statement issued by Wildlife Conservation Society (India) said.

"What we saw that day almost appeared as though the elephant was smoking - she would draw up a trunk full of ash close to her mouth and blow it out in a puff of smoke!" Mr. Kumar said.

The video was examined by Elephant biologist Varun R Goswami, he believes that "most probably, the elephant was 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".

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

"Charcoal can also serve as a laxative, thereby doubling its utility for animals that consume it after forest fires, lighting strikes, or controlled burns."

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First Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 08:10 AM

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