When the inhabitants of an Indian village were confronted with a dozen elephants lying on the ground, they immediately assumed the worst. But they were fortunately still alive, and great was the amazement when they realized that they were just “drunk”. The large vessels of fermenting mahua liquor were broken and completely emptied, and the elephants had fallen asleep after having a “revelry.”
As it reports the Press Trust of India, the unusual “rave” took place on the outskirts of a village in Keonjhar district. “We went to the jungle around 6 am to prepare mahua and found that all the pots were broken and the fermenting liquor was missing,” Naria Sethi told Indian reporters. “We also found that the elephants were sleeping. They consumed the fermented liquor and got drunk.”
The villagers were unable to wake the sleeping elephants, so they called wildlife officials who decided to use drums to make a loud enough noise to startle them and scatter them into the jungle.
Kartick Satyanarayan of Wildlife Sos, which helps save and rehabilitate wildlife in India, told the Times of India that he had his doubts about the story because “usually one elephant takes care of the rest of the herd, so it seems a bit unusual,” but he also noted that mahua is known to be enjoyed by elephants. “They love it. When they smell it, they can stick their proboscis anywhere and even tear down walls.” After the shot “at most they stagger”, but seeing them even asleep lying on the ground seems too much.
To date, there is no scientific evidence that elephants with their enormous size can get drunk. Either way, their love for the mahua can prove deadly. In April, the Times of India he reported that a herd of elephants killed five people in the Jaisingh Nagar forest range and that they had become so violent precisely because they had drunk the typical liquor.