Friday, September 5, 2008

Heroin Addicted Elephant Cured

This is a wonderful story of recovery and redemption.

From AFP:

BEIJING (AFP) — An elephant has kicked his heroin habit after a three-year stint on an island rehab in southern China, an official and state media said Thursday.

The four-year-old Asian elephant, called Xiguang, has now being transported to a wildlife reserve in southwest China after being cured of his addiction with some clean living on Hainan island, Xinhua said.

Xiguang became hooked on the narcotic after animal smugglers captured him and other elephants by luring them with bananas laced with heroin in 2005, the official news agency said.

"The four elephants are arriving here from Hainan tomorrow," wildlife park official Mr Xu, who refused to give his full name, told AFP on Thursday.

Police caught the smugglers in May 2005 on the border between China and Myanmar, and noticed that Xiguang was acting strangely, the Beijing News website reported.

His eyes kept streaming, he made continuous trumpeting noises, and was finally diagnosed with withdrawal symptoms from the drug, the report said.

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Heroin laced bananas... interesting. I remember hearing rumors that Sichuan-style hot pot back in the day was laced with opium (although some Google searches to confirm this is not showing evidence of this). If one could get away with such a practice, seems like it'd be good for business.

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