No more cigarettes for smoking Malaysian orangutan

New anti-smoking laws have reached right across society. Bonno, resident orangutan at Malaysia’s Neglizoo Wildlife Park, has been told she has two weeks to kick her habit: the ape’s enclosure is considered public space.

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A captive orangutan who would smoke cigarettes thrown to her by zoo visitors is being forced to kick the habit.

Malaysian authorities have seized adult orangutan Shirley from a state-run zoo in the southern Johor state last week after she was deemed to be living in poor conditions.

The 25-year-old animal is now being quarantined at another zoo in a neighbouring state and is expected to be sent to a wildlife centre on Borneo within weeks.

Melaka Zoo director Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said that Shirley is not being provided with any more cigarettes because 'smoking is not normal behaviour for orangutans'.

The zoo where Shirley lived in Johor hit the headlines earlier this year because of the appalling conditions animals were kept in.

The female orangutan competed with cage-mate Abu for cigarette butts thrown by tourists to satisfy her smoking habit.

A 'no smoking' sign was put up outside her cage, but authorities did nothing to stop people throwing the cigarettes inside.

Shirley spent most of her time tearing apart drinks cans and chewing on food wrappers thrown at her by visitors.

Crocodiles were left to struggle in water-less enclosures while lions and tigers were kept in cages barely big enough to house them.

Attempts by the Malaysian government's wildlife ministry Perhilitan to clamp down on the appalling conditions in the country's zoos - rated among the worst in the world - have been virtually ignored.

Last October a new law gave zoos six months to clean up their act, but little progress has been made.



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