JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AHN) – South African zoo workers are working to find a way for their star chimpanzee to quit smoking.
Charlie, a grown male chimp at the Bloemfontein Zoo, has been picking up cigarettes thrown to him by visitors and smoking them. Zoo officials blame the habit on its visitors, stating the chimp probably picked up the habit after mimicking the humans he saw daily.
"Baby chimps pick up habits by mimicking adults and we think he started mimicking smokers at his enclosure which probably led to smokers throwing him cigarettes," says zoo spokesman Daryl Barnes.
Charlie is already showing the signs of a true nicotine addict. "He even acts like a naughty schoolboy by hiding the cigarette when staff approach the area," Barnes said, adding that the zoo was determined to help him quit.