Last Wednesday, the Wildlife Conservation Society posted an intriguing video to its YouTube channel that appeared to show an elephant smoking. Although it well known that camels enjoy a cool menthol every now and then, a smoking habit hasn’t been documented among elephants until now.
The real question is why the Wildlife Conservation Society is narcing on this badass elephant, which was clearly trying to take a break from its stressful elephant life to sneak a drag in private.
According to the WCS, however, it didn’t mean to snitch. Instead, the organization saw this elephant while visiting a camera trap it had set up to monitor the behavior of tigers in India’s Nagaharole National Park. Moreover, Varun Goswami, a WCS India scientist and elephant expert, claims the elephant isn’t actually smoking.
“I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal,” Goswami said in a statement. “She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest.”
This sounds exactly like something an elephant with the munchies would do, but Goswami said it’s likely that the elephant was ingesting the charcoal for its anti-toxin or laxative effects. While a rare behavior among animals, it’s not unheard of: Colobus monkeys have also been known to eat charcoal for these reasons, too.
Still, one can’t help but wonder if this elephant’s prodigious ability to blow smoke clouds might help secure it a spot at next year’s vaping championships.