Alas, Charlie, South African’s smoking chimp, who lived and inhaled at the Bloemfontein Zoo, has shuffled off this mortal (gorilla?) coil. Charlie either learned his bad habit while working in an “American circus,” or from picking up and puffing on ciggies tossed to him by enabling zoo visitors. The bad habit, though, made him famous…plus, he lived nearly 10 years longer than your average chimp, to a banana-ripened 52.
According to Zoo spokesman Qondile Khedama, Charlie was only an “occasional smoker” (where have we heard that before?), and no one knows exactly how many cigarettes he took down. Amazingly, he showed no signs of withdrawal, but he had enough of a guilty addict’s personality to try to hide the habit from his keepers.
Said Daryl Barnes, the zoo’s senior nature conservator,
Whenever he was caught smoking, Charlie would throw the cigarette down, “grin at us, bob his head, and try to lure us away from the cigarette on the ground.”
Monkeys, they’re just like people! Only difference, instead of getting his own wax statue at Madame Tussauds, Charlie might get stuffed. Khedama opined, “Perhaps it will also give a reminder to those who enjoy smoking that it need not always be as dangerous as we are told.”
Here’s a video of Charlie, who has pretty good technique, there. Though we don’t condone this, not one little bit!
[via Daily Mail]