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NewsHub Yes, that’s a real chimpanzee smoking a real cigarette. Zoo officials in Pyongyang told the Associated Press during a visit this week that she she doesn’t inhale, but animal rights activists still aren’t pleased.
The 19-year-old female chimpanzee named Azalea—her Korean nickname is “Dallae”—smokes about a pack each day and can light them herself when tossed a lighter or already-lit cigarette from a trainer, according to the AP. Zoo-goers were said to be amused Wednesday, laughing at the sight in front of them.
“How cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement released to TIME. “Gradually, zoos are learning that spectacles like chimpanzee tea parties, elephant rides and photo ops with tiger cubs are inappropriate and exploitive, with the big question now being, why are we keeping wild animals behind bars at all?”
AP noted that renovations to the zoo, built in 1959, began two years back in an effort by leader Kim Jong Un to construct additional leisure centers around Pyongyang. It reopened in July, according to the AP, and now welcomes thousands of daily visitors.
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