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April 25, 2005

Chimp Can't Stop Smoking

Just strange:

Another chimp has been having trouble kicking the habit.

As reported in Out There last summer, a female chimpanzee at the zoo in Zhengzhou, China, took up smoking out of frustration at her mate's lack of prowess in the, um, tree.

Maybe she could find sympathy at the zoo in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where Charlie, a very macho male member of her species, has become a positive nicotine fiend after learning how to bum smokes off zoo visitors.

"Baby chimps pick up habits by mimicking adults," Daryl Barnes of the Bloemfontein Zoo (search) told the South African Press Association on April 14. "We think he started mimicking smokers at his enclosure, which probably led to smokers throwing him cigarettes."

Video of Charlie shows him strutting around, cig clamped in mouth, then squatting down to grasp the butt between thumb and forefinger before letting out a hefty puff of smoke.

"He even acts like a naughty schoolboy by hiding the cigarette when staff approach the area," Barnes said.

Animal behavioral psychologists suggested the chimps might have taken up smoking to "look older and cooler," which, of course, they do.


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posted by Ace at 10:26 AM

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