A video of an elephant pretending to steal a tourist’s hat sparked intense debate online this weekend.
The video shows a woman posing for a photo with an elephant, which uses its trunk to take the hat off the woman’s head and puts the hat in its mouth. The woman lets out a laugh.
“My sister just gave me that hat,” the woman tells the camera. She turns to the elephant and asks, “Please may I have my hat back?” The elephant pops the hat out of its mouth and returns it to the tourist.
The video was the subject of the first true debate on the new social media app Threads. Meta’s new social media platform launched on July 5, generating considerable interest as a possible alternative to Twitter.
Threads user @pubity reposted the elephant clip to the platform on Saturday. “I still can’t get over this elephant pretending to eat a woman’s hat… but then giving it back,” the caption reads.
Some users found the clip disturbing. Elephant tourism remains the subject of intense public debate.
“I don’t find this amusing,” wrote user @pugrugg. “Do you really think elephants spend their time hanging around white folks playing hide the hat? Do you see the trainers stick on the left toward the end of the video? Animals are not on this earth to entertain wealthy tourists. Just leave them be,”
“The elephant was doing what it was trained to do. It didn’t take long for this platform to become infected with clickbait garbage,” another opined.
“At first I’m like ‘aww how cute,'” remarked another. “But then I’m like wait. She’s standing next to it to take a photo, almost like it’s part of the ‘tour.’ So I’m thinking this elephant has been trained to do this. And it becomes less cute.”
However, not all commenters found the video to be problematic.
“Adorable,” one said. “They are known for their playfulness. People need to stop hunting them & killing them for their tusks though – as there’s still a lot of that going on unfortunately.”