What is this elephant smoking ? Image Credit: Vinay Kumar / WCS
Unusual footage has emerged showing an elephant attempting to ingest pieces of smouldering charcoal.
The animal in question, which in the video can be seen billowing clouds of ash from its mouth, was picked up recently on a camera trap by conservationists in India's Nagarahole National Park.
"I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal," said elephant biologist Varun Goswami of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) India program."She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest."
While the behavior may seem unusual, it is not unheard of. Other species, such as colobus monkeys, have been known to eat charcoal, possibly to help counteract toxins in their diet.
Exactly why this particular elephant was doing it however remains unclear.