In a human-animal interaction not gone horribly wrong, an elephant was spotted stealing a man’s helmet. The incident took place in India’s north-eastern city Guwahati, Assam. The Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary shares borders with the populous city. Wild animals, including elephants, often breach into the city from the sanctuary. Forest department officials confirmed that the elephant did not ingest the helmet.

A motorist had parked his bike close to a barricade in the Panjabari area close to the Army Cantonment in Narengi. The unidentified owner of the bike watched helplessly as an elephant approached the vehicle. In the viral video, he can be heard speaking to the other bystanders as the elephant went about its unnatural act of theft.

In the video, the lone elephant, possibly a young male, can be seen approaching the bike. Using its trunk, it examines the vehicle. It takes special interest in the helmet that the man left dangling from the vehicle’s handlebar. Using its trunk dexterously it manages to pry the helmet off of the handles. The bike owner can be heard exclaiming as the elephant ends up putting the protective headgear into its mouth before walking off, India.com reported.

As if talking to the elephant, the vehicle owner can be heard jokingly pleading for the helmet to be returned.

The video had a mix of reactions from netizens. While some were left amused by the gentle giant’s playful theft, others showed concern for the animal. A few people pointed out that wild animals were forced to come in contact with humans due to habitat destruction. While the interaction with the animal had not been dangerous, the large pachyderm could have seriously injured members of the public if provoked.

Concerns about the impact of ingesting a helmet were put to rest by forest department officials. Speaking to Indian Express, Division Forest Officer of the Guwahati Wildlife Division, Jayanta Deka, revealed that the animal had not ingested the foreign object. As the video ended when the animal walked off, people did not see what happened next.

After keeping the helmet in its mouth the animal walked a short distance. It then spat out the helmet. Before walking back into the forest, the massive animal did crush the helmet with its foot.

Representation Image A wild elephant reportedly ran towards a group of local residents and trampled a machete-wielding teenager in the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 4. This is a representational image. PIXABAY