North Korean Zoo Forces Chimpanzee to Smoke 20 Cigarettes a Day

Posted on by Nirali Shah

A chimpanzee held captive at the Pyongyang Central Zoo in North Korea’s capital is forced to smoke cigarettes. Tourists have been flocking there to see Azalea, whose name in Korean is Dallae, behind bars and watch her perform the “trick” that the zoo’s trainer taught her: how to light a cigarette and smoke it. In addition to this cruel act, Azalea’s trainer also prompts her to bow to her paying audience and dance.

As if we really needed any more proof that zoos are motivated by profits and not animal welfare.

Keen to entertain crowds, the zoo encourages Azalea to smoke 20 cigarettes a day. Smoking is as dangerous for her as it is for humans, yet her “caretakers” facilitate her habit—just for the sake of a few cheap laughs and increased attendance. In addition, the zoo is setting a terrible example for children, who are encouraged to watch an animal smoking a pack a day.

Azalea is not the only animal forced to amuse spectators at the zoo. One monkey has been trained to play basketball, and several dogs are forced to perform circus tricks.

The facility has been named one of the worst zoos in the world by The Dodo and has come under fire in the past for poor conditions and animal abuse and neglect.

Many other facilities are just as bad—the Grandview Aquarium in Guangzhou, China, imprisons polar bears in a shopping mall for selfies, and the Sriracha Zoo in Thailand forces tigers to jump through rings of fire and elephants to walk on tight ropes.

Countless animals spend their days “posing” for photos with tourists at the Sriracha Zoo.

Countless animals spend their days “posing” for photos with tourists at the Sriracha Zoo.

No zoo can ever come close to providing the space, diversity, and freedom that animals need. Remember: There is nothing natural about watching a chimpanzee smoke or gawking at other animals behind bars, whether they are forced to perform tricks or not.

What You Can Do

Please stay away from these glorified prisons that objectify sensitive animals, such as Azalea. There are plenty of attractions you can visit that don’t exploit animals.

Share this article with your friends and family and remind them why zoos are cruel to animals!