Ever seen an elephant smoking? Well me neither, until now! It’s incredible what one’s imagination can get up to when watching animals. Truth is, they were not really smoking, just having a little bit of dust and sand to help with their hunger for nutrition.

I was very fortunate to watch a small herd of elephants taking part in what we call Geophagia – the practise of eating soil. Research has shown that animals participate in this behaviour when they lack certain nutrients or minerals. Who would have guessed that the finely grounded sand has so much value to animals?

Pierre van As

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