Meet Azalea, North Korea’s cigarette-smoking chimpanzee

Pyongyang,Oct21:A chimpanzee at a zoo in North Korea has taken the Internet by storm after videos of her smoking cigarettes emerged.
A chimpanzee named Azalea has become been an Internet sensation, and reports suggest she’s a star at the refurbished Central zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea. According to zoo officials, the 19-year-old female chimpanzee, whose name in Korean is “Dallae”, smokes about a pack a day. Dallae is short for Azalea.
According to an AP report, “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.” The zoo officials however claim that Azalea does not inhale the smoke though. (Little respite?)

The renovated zoo has been a major attraction among the people of the country ever since it reopened. The renovations that began in 2014, as part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to create more modern and impressive structures and leisure centres around the capital was actually built in 1959.

Though animal right activist and general people would get angry at such spectacle, visitors at the zoo seemed to have been enjoying the affair thoroughly. The AP report added that guests were delighted as she “sat puffing away as her trainer egged her on”. The trainer of the star ape also encouraged her to touch her nose, bow thank you and do a simple dance to entertain the spectators further.

More than 40 animal enclosures have been built for reptiles, monkeys and other wild animals across the zoo to match the surrounding scenery, according to North Korean state news agency KCNA. However, many reports have raised corners about the sorry state of affairs at the zoo. According to Lonely Planet guide for North Korea, the Central Zoo had been criticised for keeping animals in “woefully inadequate compounds”.

What do you think of Azalea?