Tori the 15-year-old orang-utan, who has been smoking cigarettes at an Indonesian zoo for a decade, is about to be forced to kick the habit.
Zookeepers said today they plan to move Tori away from visitors who regularly throw lit cigarettes into her cage so they can watch and photograph her puffing away and flicking ashes on the ground.
The primate mimics human behaviour, holding cigarettes casually between her fingers while taking long drags and blowing bursts of smoke out of her nostrils to the delight of visitors.
Taru Jurug Zoo director Lili Krisdianto said the move was aimed to protect four endangered orang-utans at the 14-hectare (35-acre) zoo in the central Java town of Solo.
Results of a medical test are expected tomorrow to show how much Tori’s smoking has affected her health, said Hardi Baktiantoro of the Borneo-based Centre for Orang-utan Protection.
A mesh cover will initially be placed over Tori’s cage, and later she will be moved to a small island away from the public.
Several Indonesian zoos have come under scrutiny following animal deaths, including a giraffe that died in the long-troubled Surabaya Zoo in March with an 18 kilo (40lb) ball of plastic in its
stomach after years of eating rubbish thrown into its enclosure by visitors.
Indonesia is also one of the last remaining countries where tobacco companies face few restrictions on selling, advertising and promoting products long banned elsewhere.
More than 60% of all men light up and a third of the country’s entire population smokes.