Activists demand Indonesia zoo’s closure after video shows orangutan smoking

Updated on Mar 07, 2018 07:14 PM IST

In the video shot Sunday, a young man flicks his half-smoked cigarette into the primate’s enclosure. It’s picked up by the reddish-brown primate, who expertly puffs on it to laughter from the crowd.

Environmental activists hold a rally in Banda Aceh in Indonesia.(AFP File Photo)
Environmental activists hold a rally in Banda Aceh in Indonesia.(AFP File Photo)
AP, Jakarta | By

An Indonesian zoo infamous for mistreatment of animals is being slammed again by activists after a video emerged of one of its orangutans smoking.

Activist Marison Guciano said Wednesday the smoking great ape is further evidence of a lack of supervision and education at Bandung Zoo, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of the capital, Jakarta.

In the video shot Sunday, a young man flicks his half-smoked cigarette into the primate’s enclosure. It’s picked up by the reddish-brown primate, who expertly puffs on it to laughter from the crowd.

Guciano said the man committed a crime but the privately owned zoo is mainly responsible because of its “ignorance of supervision and education for visitors”.

The zoo has repeatedly made headlines for starving and sick animals. It was temporarily closed in 2016 after a Sumatran elephant that died was found to have bruises on its body.

A change.org petition calling for Bandung Zoo to be closed has nearly 1 million signatures. Visitors who review the zoo on TripAdvisor describe a dirty facility and sadness and anger at seeing the condition of the animals.

Screengrab of the online petition demanding closure of the zoo.
Screengrab of the online petition demanding closure of the zoo.

Zoo spokesperson Sulhan Syafi’I said “we very much regret that such a thing happened” and the incident was reported to police.

Signs at the zoo warn visitors to not feed animals or give them cigarettes, he said.

Substandard conditions are common at Indonesian zoos and Guciano blamed the government for being slow in establishing animal welfare standards.

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