After consuming villager-produced alcohol, a herd of twenty “drunk” elephants in India fell and needed to sleep off their heavy night of drinking.
In the eastern state of Odisha, a group of 24 elephants was wandering through the bush when they came across enormous clay pots of “muhua,” a traditional alcoholic beverage prepared from the blossom of the madhuca longifolia tree.
Locals from the village of Salipada put the alcohol jars in the bush to ferment, but when they returned, they discovered the pots broken and a herd of elephants passed out next to the clay shards. The nine-calf herd had consumed the food and had become so intoxicated that the locals were unable to wake them from their deep sleep.
When neighborhood wildlife officers arrived and started beating drums, the Indian elephants were finally woken from their inebriated stupor. The herd managed to stand up and move slowly into the heart of the woodland, possibly with a splitting headache from the combination of alcohol and the drumming.
Naria Sethi, a villager, told PTI news agency, “We went into the bush at approximately 6am to cook muhua and found that all the pots were broken and the fermented liquor is vanished.”
“We also discovered that the elephants were asleep,” Sethi continued. “They drank the fermenting alcohol and became inebriated.”
Elephants have been known to consume “muhua” in the past, sometimes with disastrous results.
“They adore it.” The chief executive of Wildlife SOS, Kartick Satyanarayan, told The Times that it is powerful, sweet, and clean.
“When they smell it, they can smash down walls or stick their trunks inside kitchens to get to it. As they return home after finishing, they occasionally knock over a house or tree.”
Some elephants have developed “mahua” addictions and have embarked on frantic searches for alcoholic beverages. After a herd of elephants killed five persons brewing alcohol in the Jaisingh Nagar forest region in April of this year, this had disastrous effects.
A herd of elephants was sighted traveling through the forest, prompting forest officials to issue a warning to the people not to brew mahua. Elephants would be drawn to the intoxicating mahua liquor because of their keen sense of smell.
Lallu Kanwar, 50, his wife Lalita, 48, and her sister Devi Singh, 38, was found resting next to mahua jars in the forest by the elephant herd, but some locals disregarded the warning, and they were all slain.
The same herd of elephants attacked Motilal Basor, 60, and his wife Muliya Bai, 55, as they were gathering mahua in the adjoining Amjhor forest range the day before. However, the herd Salipada villagers saw dozing out in the bush did not attack the inhabitants but instead stumbled away.
Elephants rarely sleep, but astonishing photos taken last year showed China’s famous herd of roaming elephants resting for a well-deserved rest after making a record-breaking 300-mile journey across the country after escaping from a wildlife reserve.
The wild Asian elephants, numbering 15, decided to walk across China after breaking free from a Xishuangbanna Dai prefecture wildlife reserve. Two months into their voyage, they were discovered lying down with their legs and trunks spread out across the ground in the Xinyang Township countryside. One juvenile elephant is seen hanging to an adult’s leg while another rests its trunk on another, giving the impression that the herd is sleeping in the shape of a pyramid.