Elephants in China got drunk and passed out in a garden By Mindy Weisberger

Large public gatherings are currently prohibited in many places to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but that didn’t stop a group of Asian elephants from partying in a field in Yunnan Province in China, where they found and drained vats of corn wine.

Two elephants drank so much wine that they passed out in a tea garden.

A photo of the inebriated elephants — lying curled up back to back on a dirt bed amid the greenery — went viral after it was shared on Twitter on March 18 by Parveen Kaswan, a conservationist and an Indian Forest Service officer. Kaswan mentioned in the tweet that wild elephants have a taste for booze, quipping that these particular pachyderms had turned to alcohol “to sanitize [their] trunks,” and were sleeping off the aftermath.

Asian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) inhabit grasslands and forest habitats across countries in southern Asia, and there are estimated to be fewer than 50,000 of them in the wild, the World Wildlife Fund says

But in China there are only 250 of these elephants left, and they face the looming threat of local extinction, Kaswan tweeted.

In another tweet, Kaswan posted a photo of the elephant herd “when they were all sober,” clustered together amid rows of crops. In forest regions where the elephants live, locals are aware of the animals’ interest in human-made alcohol, Kaswan said. But even when people bury their liquor, “somehow elephants find it,” Kaswan wrote in the tweet.

Elephants will even “mark” locations where they have previously found alcohol and come back later to see if there’s more, Kaswan added.

Persistent rumors and anecdotes had long suggested that African elephants regularly become drunk on fermented marula fruit, though scientists determined more than a decade ago that this was likely a myth. An animal the size of an elephant — weighing more than 6,600 lbs. (3,000 kilograms) — would have to consume 400 times the amount of fruit in its normal diet and not drink any water for the alcohol to make it intoxicated, researchers reported in 2006 in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

However, elephants that come across caches of liquor or wine might guzzle the beverage for its sweet taste, which could lead to drunkenness, Shermin de Silva, a cofounder of Sri Lanka’s Elephant Forest and Environmental Trust, previously told Live Science.

Other types of wild creatures have demonstrated the effects of consuming too much alcohol. In 2011, a moose in Sweden got drunk after eating fermented apples and wound up entangled in a tree, according to the Smithsonian. White-tailed deer often browse on fermented apples in orchards, making them “stumble-y” and “sleepy,” Don Moore, associate director of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic.

And chimpanzees, our closest living primate relatives, appear to

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