A video of an elephant breathing smoke in Nagarahole National Park in India's southern state of Karnataka has baffled the scientists and onlookers.
In the video, which was captured by Vinay Kumar, Assistant Director with the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS)-India Program, the elephant is seen picking up something with its trunk, putting it in its mouth and blowing out smoke.
"I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal. She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest," said Dr. Varun Goswami, WCS India scientist and elephant biologist, according to a press release.
The video was captured by WCS field staff who were visiting camera-trap locations in the forest as part of a long-term project to study tigers.
The organization further explains that charcoal has toxin-binding properties and the elephant was consuming it for health-related issues. Charcoals also have laxative properties and animals are likely to consume it after forest fires, lightning strikes, or controlled burns.
Laxatives are known for loosening stools and increasing bowel movements.
Recently, another elephant from Karnataka made headlines. Residents of a village in Hassan district woke up to wails of a sub-adult tusker only to find it stuck in a puddle.
According to NDTV's report, the young elephant got separated from its herd and ventured into the village before falling in the puddle. After a three-hour-long operation, the elephant was rescued by the forest officials.
Check out the video here: