An interesting image of an elephant smoking in Karnataka has been doing the rounds. The image of the elephant from the Nagarhole National Park has gone viral.
This is probably the first video and image documentation of an elephant ingesting charcoal. This is generally done by animals for laxative effect. The elephant belongs to the Wild Asian species and is around 30 years old. The elephant was noticed by researchers of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The elephant was spotted by Vinay Kumar, assistant director at WCS and his colleague Srikanth Rao. They were part of a programme which is studying the tiger and prey populations. They spotted the elephant eating charcoal.
According to Vinay Kumar, the female elephant was caught on video when she drew up a trunk-full of smoke and let out a puff of smoke. It appeared as though she was smoking. He said that when he asked his friend Dr Varun Goswami, he said that she was trying to eat the charcoal.
In a post on WCS, it was said, 'Although charcoal has no medicinal properties, it is often sought by animals as a medicine and it also serves as a laxative, which is what attracts animals towards it after forest fires, lightning strikes and the like."