The zoo was already under fire for its treatment of its other animals, when the video of the orangutan emerged.
A zoo in Indonesia is under fire from animal rights groups after video surfaced of an orangutan smoking a cigarette inside his enclosure.
A visitor to the Bandung zoo reportedly flicked a lit cigarette into the orangutan exhibit, where it was picked up by the resident orangutan, 22-year-old Ozon, who immediately started puffing on it.
It appeared as if he’d had some experience with cigarettes, as he’d seemed to know exactly what to do. Ozon puffed a few times, knocked the ash off and continued to smoke almost the entire cigarette.
Ironically, there’s a sign outside the orangutan’s enclosure, which explicitly forbids giving the animals cigarettes.
“There’s actually a sign at the location which says visitors are not allowed to give food and cigarettes to the animals,” said Sulhan, a spokesperson for the zoo.
Indonesia has one of the world’s highest smoking rates among humans and is renowned for their bad record with animal rights.
A video, taken of Ozon and his cigarette, has gone viral and sparked outrage from various aminal rights groups around Indonesia. Not only are they condemning the Bandung zoo, but they’re lashing out at zoos all over the area, for their notoriously poor conditions.
Last year, a video appeared online that showed the Bandung zoo’s sun bears looking sickly and skeletal, begging for food from visitors. Since then, animal rights activists have been calling for the zoo to close its doors.
This isn’t the first time that a primate has been caught smoking in a zoo.
Several years ago, in 2012, an orangutan at the Taru Jurug zoo in Surakarta, Indonesia developed a smoking habit after repeatedly picking up cigarette butts left behind by visitors.
In 2010, a famous smoking South African chimpanzee named Charlie died at 52. His handlers had tried to get Charlie to quit smoking for years but were ultimately unsuccessful.