Activists said a celebrity endorsement was sure to raise awareness of the plight of the pachyderms that get drunk on farmers' homemade rice beer then go on a rampage. Last month, six wild elephants that broke into a farm in the state of Meghalaya were electrocuted after discovering and drinking the potent brew then uprooting an electricity pole.
"There would have been more casualties if the villagers hadn't chased them away. And four elephants died in a similar way three years ago. It is just so sad," Hilton was quoted as saying in Tokyo last week.
"The elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming really dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them," she said in a report posted on the World Entertainment News Network Web site.
Her comments were also picked up by other Web sites and newspapers around the globe.
It wasn't immediately possible to verify the comments. Hilton's publicist could not be reached for comment.
"I am indeed happy Hilton has taken note of recent incidents of wild elephants in northeast India going berserk after drinking homemade rice beer and getting killed," Sangeeta Goswami, who heads animal rights group People for Animals, told The Associated Press.
"As part of her global elephant campaign, Hilton should, in fact, think of visiting this region literally infested with elephants," Goswami said.
While welcoming Hilton's interest, another conservationist said elephant alcohol abuse was just a symptom of the real problem.
"Elephants appear on human settlements ... because they have no habitat left due to wanton destruction of forests," said Soumyadeep Dutta, who heads Nature's Beckon, a leading regional conservation group.
"A celebrity like Hilton must focus her attention on this fact," Dutta said.
Hilton promised to improve her bad-girl image when she completed a three-week jail term in June for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. She had announced plans to do charity work in Rwanda for the Playing for Good Foundation, but the trip was postponed until next year.