A wild elephant became the unexpected hero in local authorities’ fight against drugs when it discovered a backpack containing six pounds of opium.

The tusker was reportedly part of a wild herd passing by officers near the Mengman Township in south-western China’s Yunnan Province when it stumbled across the narcotics.

Police were patrolling the area after concerned locals alerted them of four Asian elephants roaming in nearby villages. They encountered them in a forest.

As the herd walked past, one of them suddenly stopped and began sniffing around in the grass.

One piece of footage shows the moment the wild animal suddenly pulls out a black backpack from the bush and flings it in the air.

Officers reportedly rushed to retrieve the bag and were stunned when they inspected its insides.

Asian elephant finds 2.8kg of drugs in a backpack in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China, undated. The police immediately went to the scene to investigate. (Xishuangbanna Border Police/AsiaWire)

Another piece of footage shows the moment the officers discover a black, sealed package in the backpack that later turned out to contain 2.8 kilogrammes (6.1 lbs) of opium-based drugs.

Police said drug trafficking is a growing problem in the area around Mengman.

Criminals often take advantage of the vast vegetation to hide from authorities and sneak around the narcotics.

The case is under further investigation.

The Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is the largest living land animal on the continent, with a slightly smaller build than the African elephant.

It has been listed as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List due to loss of habitat and relentless poaching.

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