Saturday, October 27, 2007

Drunk Elephants

I'm sure most everyone has heard about animals - specifically elephants - eating fermented fruit and getting drunk (If you haven't, the video's at the bottom of this post). But what about when they're actually drinking human booze? Bad, bad shit goes down, that's what.

Drunk elephant rampage ends in death

Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted as they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India’s remote northeast, a wildlife official said today.

The 40-strong herd uprooted an electric pole while looking desperately for food on Friday in Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 240km west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.

It happened back in 2004, too:

Drunken elephants die in accident

A herd of about 20 to 25 elephants went on the rampage in a remote area in the West Garo Hills district earlier this week after getting high on the beer.

As panicky villagers fled for cover, leaving behind their freshly brewed beverage, the elephants drank to their heart's content.

The inebriated elephants then struck an electric pole and brought it down.

And 1991:
A herd of thirsty elephants have broken through Indian army defences to steal the soldiers winter rum rations. The animals regularly break into an army supply depot in the jungle area of Bagdogra, in Northern Bengal, to get to the stores of food and spirit. Soldiers have tried to keep them at bay by lighting fires around the base and putting up electrified fences. But the crafty creatures have learned to hose out the flames with water stored in their trunks, and to flatten the fences by dropping uprooted trees on them. Once inside the depot, the huge raiders have no problem smashing down thin steel railings and wooden windows to get to the rum, sugar, flour and bananas inside, said an army spokesman. An officer recently posted there explained that the elephants broke the rum bottles by cleverly curling their trunks around the bottom. Then they empty the contents down their throats. They soon got drunk, he said, and swayed around. They enjoy themselves and then return to the jungle. But woe betide any soldier on duty who confronts one of the partying pachyderms, said the officer. One elephant never forgot the man who poured hot water on him one night - and has returned regularly to demolish his hut.
- Daily Telegraph 14/12/91

Then again, at least one person is skeptical about the whole thing. His point about the marula fruits is probably valid, but I'm not convinced that it's impossible for an elephant to drink enough. Honestly, I want to believe. Anyway, here's that video:

If I ever open a bar, I'm calling it "Marula".

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