While exploring camera-trap locations in Nagaharole National Park, Karnataka, a group of scientists came across an elephant displaying some rather unusual behaviour. She appeared to be breathing out large puffs of smoke.
The scientists stopped and filmed the elephant. In the video above, filmed by Vinay Kumar, Assistant Director for Wildlife Conservation Society, India, the lone elephant can be seen standing, eating bits of bark and fallen leaves, and every once in a while breathing out clouds of smoke.
In the description of the video, Dr Varun Goswami, an elephant biologist, said, “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.” The description also says that charcoal has medicinal value for animals, and can serve as a laxative for elephants.