Zoo wants smoking orangutan to go to rehab

Tori Smoking Orangutan

Cigarette smoking is such a hard habit to break, but workers at an Indonesian zoo are confident that their famous smoking ape will finally beat her decade-long addiction when she is moved out of visitors’ reach.

Tori, a 15-year-old orangutan, learned to “rock a grit” 10 years ago by imitating zoo visitors, who would throw their lighted cigs into her open cage so they can watch and photograph her smoking. According to officials at Solo’s Taru Jurug Zoo, the ape holds up two fingers to her mouth to indicate she’s in need of a nicotine fix and becomes irritable if none are readily available.

“It is very common in Indonesian zoos for people to throw cigarettes or food [at animals] even though there are signs to not feed or give cigarettes,” Hardi Baktiantoro of Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) said. “It happens all the time. [In Tori’s case], people will throw cigarettes in, watch her smoke, start laughing and take pictures.”

In the meantime a mesh cover will be placed over Tori’s cage, but later she will be transferred to a small island away from the public.

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