Indonesia zoo condemned over smoking orangutan


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Media captionIndonesian orangutan smokes a cigarette thrown by zoo visitor

Animal rights activists have condemned staff at a zoo where an orangutan was filmed smoking.

A visitor flicked a cigarette into the enclosure at Bandung zoo, and Odon, 22, picked it up and started puffing. Footage of the incident has gone viral.

Zoo staff said the incident was regrettable, and that the guard may have been taking a break at the time.

Indonesia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and a bad record of animal protection.

“There’s actually a sign”

A zoo spokesperson said there are measures in place to prevent exactly this from happening.

“There’s actually a sign at the location which says visitors are not allowed to give food and cigarettes to the animals,” said spokesperson Sulhan.

Marison Guciano, founder of the Indonesia Animal Welfare Society, attacked the zoo’s management for “weak control”, but also criticised a wider lack of welfare standards at zoos.

“Almost all zoos are in poor condition… from the cages and feeding needs to the animals’ health,” he said.

There have been calls to shut the zoo, located 93 miles (150km) southeast of the capital Jakarta, since 2017.

The demands followed online footage of sun bears at Bandung seen looking thin and begging for food from visitors.

Image copyright Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group
Image caption The bears look skeletal and can be seen begging for food from visitors in a video taken in July 2016

Smoking monkeys

This is not the first time apes have been caught smoking in captivity.

In 2012 an orangutan named Tori at the Taru Jurug zoo in central Java learnt to smoke from picking up cigarette butts from visitors.

The zoo had to move the 15-year-old out of reach of visitors to put an end to her habit.

And in 2010, a South African chimpanzee named Charlie famous for his smoking habit died at the age of 52.

The staff had tried to get Charlie to quit for years, but without success.


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