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A smoking orangutan forced to quit

posted 9 Jul 2012, 07:28 by Mpelembe   [ updated 9 Jul 2012, 07:28 ]

A smoking orangutan in Indonesia's zoo to be placed out of the zoo, close to her nature.

A smoking orangutan in Indonesia, who started her unhealthy habit nine years ago after visitors threw cigarette butts into her enclosure, is moving onto healthier pastures.
Satwa Taru Jurug zoo in the Java town of Solo, some 580km (360 miles) east of the capital Jakarta, is being moved away from visitors to protect herself and four other endangered orangutans.

Tori, a 15 year-old female orangutan, has been cause for concern with her nicotine addiction, which she mimiced from humans who smoke near her enclosure.

Visitors to the zoo were concerned about her health.

"When she asks for cigarettes we should ignore it, give her fruit or banana. This is not good for her health, smoking is bad for human and also for ape," said visitor Reffiana who, like many Indonesians, goes only by one name.

COP started working with zoo managers to set up a program to rehabilitate Tori last month.

Both sides agreed that the ape should be moved away from visitors and put on an island in the province. The NGO said it will help the ape be closer to her natural habitat.

"For the time being we have several program that we have planned, together with Center for Orangutan (COP), one is medical record, enrichment and renovation of enclosure to protect her from visitors," zoo director Lilik Kristianto.

He said several staff have been appointed to watch the ape in the cage.

"We have also planned to train the keepers and we will educate visitors too," said Kristianto

Results of Tori's medical test, to see how the nearly decade-long smoking habit has taken a toll on her health, took place on Saturday (July 7) with the results yet to be made available.

Orangutans used to live in a lush forest and peatland region in Kalimantan and Sumatra islands. But more than two-thirds of the area has been divided up into palm oil concessions, orangutan population is predicted not more than 9,000, activists said.