Monkeys and apes chain smoking cigarettes as coronavirus panic grips planet

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Stressed-out primates have taken to chain smoking cigarettes as the coronavirus crisis rages across the globe.

Monkeys and chimps have failed to kick the habit as entertained visitors are seen to laugh as the animals spark up amid the pandemic.

In Cambodia, one man took to social media to share a video, titled ‘By 2020 even monkeys can smoke’, which shows a tiny macaque in a pen smoking a cig as another looks on.

The animal is seen to take repeated drags while looking thoughtfully into the distance, as a group of men laugh hysterically and take pictures on their phones.

It seems that as worried humans panic over the pandemic unfolding around them, their stress has rubbed off on monkeys who are reaching for the smokes.

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rocket in South East Asia, with many people in war-torn Cambodia travelling to neighbouring countries for medical treatment.

Namwan a 10-year-old female monkey, takes a puff on a cigarette

South China Morning Post report Cambodia’s coronavirus cases have spiked, forcing the government to ban travellers from countries including US and Italy.

The government has tested less than 2,000 people, of which 110 were confirmed cases, while globally the number of those infected is set to stop one million this week.

In the midst of the crisis elsewhere another video titled ‘human monkey’ has appeared online of a smoking chimp in a zoo enclosure.

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The animal seems to be transfixed with smoking a cigarette as the excited voices of a French man, woman and child can be heard to comment.

Midway through the clip, the animal takes puffs while holds the cigarette between its index fingers before putting it down to scratch his head and play with a stick.

He then picks it back up and repositions himself several times before moving to a corner, where he takes deep drags and exhales smoke from his nose and mouth like seasoned smoker.

It is not clear where the film originated.

Tobacco smoking monkeys and apes are nothing new.

The addiction often starts when the animals pick up and smoke discarded cigarette butts.

In October 2016 a video showing a chimpanzee lighting and smoking a cigarette at a zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea went viral, after officials claimed she smoked a pack a day.

One of the UK’s most famous smoking animals was chimp Joe, pictured here in 1980 aged 19 at Southam Zoo

Azalea, 19,was also seen to light them herself when tossed a lighter or passed an already-lit cigarette from a trainer.

An observer said: “I did not see anyone mortified.

“People seemed to be entertained and laughed in delight when she started to puff the cigarette and then light a fresh cigarette with the previous one. Some of them were taking pictures with their cell phones, some took video off their phones too. Many seemed just amazed that a chimpanzee could smoke a cigarette.”

The spectacle drew the concerns of animal rights activists after zoo staff said it was ok for the chimp to smoke because “she doesn’t inhale”.

Smoking monkey in Gibraltar

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said it was “cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement.”

Flash forward to the coronavirus pandemic and zoos around the world are facing another crisis as visitors are banned from coming to see the animals due to social distancing rules.

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But the costs of heating and feeding the animals remain a huge undertaking with zoos across Europe appealing for emergency donations.

Meanwhile in China, the epicentre of the outbreak, animals in the hundreds have been left to starve and die and feast on each to survive, it is claimed.

Disturbing footage shows arctic foxes devouring a dead alpaca inside a faeces-filled cage at the indoor zoo in Changsha, Hunan Province of central China, which was closed due to the coronavirus lockdown.





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