Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Chain-Smoking Chimpanzee Shockingly Popular at Zoo

Animals

A chain-smoking chimpanzee has become the hot attraction at the newly renovated Central Zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea outraging animal rights activists who say it's a form of animal cruelty.

The 19-year-old chimpanzee named Azalea became an Internet sensation Wednesday after the Associated Press posted photos of her smoking in her exhibit, a practice taught to her by zoo trainers to draw crowds. She can even light them herself, either with a lighter or an already lit cigarette.

"How cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement," Ingrid Newkirk, president of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told The Huffington Post. "Gradually, zoos are learning that spectacles such as chimpanzee tea parties, elephant rides and photo ops with tiger cubs are inappropriate and exploitative. The big question now is why are we keeping wild animals behind bars at all."

While Azalea reportedly lights up a pack of cigarettes a day, zoo officials told the Associated Press that Azalea isn't actually inhaling the harmful smoke, but some aren't buying it.

"I doubt it, in the same way that I would doubt a human who smokes a lot but says he never inhales," primatologist Frans B.M. de Waal told the Huffington Post. "Like Bill Clinton."

The new zoo features traditional zoo attractions as well as unusual ones featuring animals that perform tricks—such as "a monkey that slam dunks basketballs, dogs trained to appear as though they can do addition on subtraction on an abacus, and doves that fly around and land on a woman skating on an indoor stage," according to the Associated Press.

"This exemplifies the problem with any captive wildlife displayed for profit," Carter Dillard, director of litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, told The Telegraph. "They are made to do unnatural and freakish things to attract gawkers. The good news is that the civilized world is moving away from this, like the gradual elimination of orcas from places like SeaWorld."

Unfortunately in this case, the Associated Press reports the zoo is attracting thousands of visitors a day that seem to find extreme delight in Azalea's smoking habit.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less