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Video of Orangutan Smoking Cigarette at Indonesian Zoo Sparks Outrage

2 minute read

A viral video of an orangutan smoking a cigarette inside its enclosure at an Indonesian zoo has sparked outrage from animal rights activists.

The footage, shot on Sunday at Bandung Zoo, shows a visitor toss a cigarette into the primate enclosure, before Ozon, a 22-year-old orangutan, picks it up and begins puffing on it to laughter from the crowd.

Bandung Zoo has been the subject of several animal rights scandals in recent years. In 2016, the zoo, located roughly 75 miles from the country’s capital Jakarta, was forced to temporarily close after the corpse of a Sumatran elephant was found to be covered with bruises, according to the Associated Press.

Last January, footage emerged of “starving” sun bears begging visitors for food, which led Indonesian activists, led by Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, to lobby for the zoo’s closure. A change.org petition calling for Bandung Zoo to close has since accumulated nearly 1 million signatures.

Marison Guciano, founder of the Indonesia Animal Welfare Society, told the BBC that he blamed the zoo’s management and “weak control” for the orangutan incident.

“We very much regret that such a thing happened,” zoo spokesperson Sulhan Syafi’I told reporters, according to the network. He added that the incident was reported to police.

“There’s actually a sign at the location which says visitors are not allowed to give food and cigarettes to the animals,” he said.

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