STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Karnataka: Experts baffled as elephant found ‘smoking’ in Nagarhole

It appears to be ingesting charcoal and blowing ashes in a burnt forest floor during the summer month of April, 2016

Published: 27th March 2018 03:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2018 09:37 AM   |  A+A-

A video grab shows the elephant ingesting charcoal and blowing ashes

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: In one of the latest insights into the behaviour of wild elephants, a rare video of one smoking in Nagarhole forests has been captured by a scientist from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), India. It appears to be ingesting charcoal and blowing ashes in a burnt forest floor during the summer month of April, 2016. This unusual behaviour has baffled experts and scientists worldwide as this is the first such photographic or video documentation of a pachyderm smoking. 

This rare video was shot by Vinay Kumar, Assistant Director of WCS India and captures a wild Asian elephant exhibiting incredibly unusual behaviour – seemingly ingesting charcoal and blowing out the ashes! The video was taken while he and his colleague Srikanth Rao and their field staff were checking in on their installed camera-traps in the park as part of WCS India’s long-term monitoring of tiger and prey populations in Nagarhole National Park.

According to Vinay Kumar, they had just entered a partially burnt patch of the moist deciduous forests, when they suddenly came face to face with a female elephant standing calmly on the side of the road. “This was not an unusual sighting, but what we saw her doing was something that I had never witnessed before, and it has probably not been commonly captured on film earlier either. As cameras clicked, I switched on to the video mode and filmed what would be an amazing sight to behold, a behaviour that has had experts trying to decipher the exact nature of the action. 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.”

Dr Varun R Goswami, elephant biologist and senior scientist with WCS India Program believes 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. He adds, “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.”



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp