NYPost Pyongyang’s newly opened zoo has a new star: Azalea, the smoking chimpanzee. According to officials at the newly renovated zoo, which has become a favorite leisure spot in the North Korean capital since it re-opened in July, the 19-year-old female chimpanzee, whose name in Korean is “Dalle,” smokes about a pack a day. Dalle is short for azalea. They insist, however, she doesn’t inhale. Thrown a lighter by a zoo trainer, the chimpanzee lights her own cigarettes. If a lighter isn’t available, she can light up from lit cigarette if one is tossed her way. Though such a sight would be cringe-worthy in many other locales, it seemed to delight visitors who roared with laughter on Wednesday as the chimpanzee, one of two at the zoo, sat puffing away as her trainer egged her on. The trainer also prompted her to touch her nose, bow thank you and do a simple dance. The zoo is pulling in thousands of visitors a day with a slew of attractions ranging from such typical fare as elephants, giraffes, penguins and monkeys to a high-tech natural history museum with displays showing the origins of the solar system and the evolution of life on Earth. Another of the most popular attractions that might come as a surprise to foreign visitors is the dog pavilion, which has everything from German shepherds to Shih Tsus. The zoo also has performances featuring other animals trained to do tricks, including a monkey that slam dunks basketballs, dogs trained to appear as though they can do addition on subtraction on an abacus and doves that fly around and land on a woman skating on an indoor stage. Renovations for the new zoo began in 2014, as part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to create more modern and impressive structures and leisure centers around the capital. The zoo actually dates back to 1959, when Kim Il Sung, the nation’s first leader and the grandfather of Kim Jong Un, ordered it built on the outskirts of the city. According to its official history, the zoo started off with only 50 badgers.
PETA and Greenpeace are going to want to scramble fighter jets immediately in order to deploy a rescue mission so they can save the smoking chimpanzee from this North Korean zoo, however if you do cannot admit that a chimpanzee smoking cigarettes is hilarious, we cannot be friends. This chimpanzee seems to like smoking cigarettes, she lights them herself, and smokes a pack a day to the delight of zoo visitors. Everyone who is anti-zoo and pro-animal rights needs to relax, nobody is forcing this chimp to smoke cigarettes, life in a North Koran zoo probably sucks and a pack of cigarettes a day probably helps to take the edge off. PETA, you work on your video about the dangers of smoking as it relates to chimpanzee lung disease, while the rest of us laugh at pictures of a smoking chimp.
P.S. The article mentions that this zoo originally only had 50 badgers. What looks kind of terrible zoo only has 50 badgers? “Well kids, first we will go to the badger enclosure, then we will swing by the badger pit. Then if there is time, we will go to the badger exhibit, but only if you’re on your best behavior.”