Indonesia Uses Trained Elephants to Control Forest Fires

"In this Sunday, Nov. 10, 2015 photo, forestry officials ride on the back of an elephant as they patrol an area affected by forest fire in Siak, Riau province, Indonesia." (AP Photo/Rony Muharrman)

The elephant plays an important role in the lifestyles of many people in Southeast Asia - and in ways you might have never imagined. Elephants as part of a fire crew? Check.

From the Source:

"Officials in Indonesia are using trained elephants outfitted with water pumps and hoses to help control fires that have claimed vast amounts of forest while sending thick haze into neighboring countries.

For nearly three months, Riau province in East Sumatra has been blanketed by smoke from forest fires and land clearing, especially in peat-rich areas where flames are difficult to contain.

At the elephant conservation center in Siak district, 23 trained elephants are being used as 'forest watchdogs.'"