STRANGE Thermique chimpanzee smokes cigarettes in a zoo for over 16 years

The shocking video of a chimpanzee who smokes in a zoo cage has upset China.

The 28-year-old male, Jiaku, has been a smoker for about 16 years.

The chimpanzee became addicted to smoking after being transferred to a zoo in Xinjiang, northeast China, in 2002.

A video shows Jiaku smoking a cigarette as tourists look at him excitedly out of his cage at the Tianshan Wildlife Zoo.

The video also shows tourists throwing cigarettes and lighters in Jiaku's cage to encourage him to smoke.

The staff did not seem to stop tourists.

The zoo published a letter of apology yesterday, as the public accused the administration of failing to take care of the animal.

The zoo promised to seal all the gaps in the glass windows and to add warning signals to prevent visitors from giving cigarettes to Jiaku.

Jiaku's manager, Yu Xinhua, said in Xinjiang Morning Post last year that Jiaku started smoking in 2002.

"He was trained and worked before in a Chinese circus," said Yu, who cares for the animal for 16 years.

Jiaku was transferred from the circus to the Ürümqi Zoo in Xinjiang Province with an exchange program in 2002.

In 2006, he moved to the Tianshan Wildlife Zoo where he lives until today.

The management of the Tianshan Wildlife Zoo is committed to helping the animal quit smoking.

The zoo said a statement: "We will fill all the gaps and holes between the glass panels so that tourists do not throw cigarettes into his cage."

"We will put more signs to warn tourists not to throw cigarettes or food and objects into chimps."

The zoo also said it would enhance the training of its staff.

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