Video has shown the sickening moment an orangutan was seen puffing on a cigarette after being thrown into its enclosure at a zoo in Saigon.
Video of the male orangutan sitting on the ground casually holding a cigarette between his fingers like a human was captured at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City
He then observes the crowd before taking two long puffs of the cigarette and carefully crushing it on some rocks.
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The critically endangered monkey, from Borneo, then checks the butt to ensure it is properly extinguished, despite zoo claims that the orangutan had not been given a cigarette and the had found after it was thrown away by a visitor.
The spokesperson – not named in local media – said: ‘People often throw objects into the animal’s cages and the orangutan learns to use these objects by seeing how people use them.’
They also added that their security staff didn’t have the ability to keep an eye on everything all the time and when they were made aware of the clip they made sure there were no more cigarettes in the cage and such.
Local news reports claim there have been numerous incidents of visitors throwing rubbish into animal cages despite notices warning them not to.
Animal lovers and activists were disgusted by the clip as they took to Twitter condemning anyone who threw away the cigarette.
One user said: “Poor thing locked up and copying human traits. I don’t find it funny, just sad what we are doing to these obviously intelligent animals.”
Another wrote: “Everyone smokes in Saigon, I guess someone showed the orangutan how to smoke. I have already seen it. Appalling.
“I guess it makes humans more powerful, that they addicted this being to a harmful substance.”
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The news comes after Scottish scientists developed a ‘monkey media player’ to provide a group of zoo animals with much-needed entertainment, with access to music and movie streaming.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow donated touchscreen devices to a group of monkeys at a zoo in Finland, so they could access special media for monkeys.
A computer was placed inside an enclosure for 32 days, allowing the monkeys to access videos of worms, aquariums and shapes. They might also listen to the sounds of rain, traffic, or music.