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Smoking Chimpanzee Becomes Star In North Korea (Photo)

| by John Freund
A cigarette sits on an ashtrayA cigarette sits on an ashtray

A smoking chimpanzee has become a star at a North Korean zoo.

NBC News reports that Azalea, a 19-year-old female chimpanzee, smokes roughly a pack of cigarettes a day and lights her own cigarettes, as well.

Zoo trainers insist that Azalea doesn’t inhale, but that hasn’t quelled the outrage of many who find the image of a monkey smoking quite disturbing. 

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However many visitors to Pyongyang Zoo are enthralled, and Azalea has become the star attraction.  According to the New York Daily News, Azalea also dances and even bows upon request, prompting visitors to take photos of her during their visit. 

Pyongyang Zoo is known for having animals that perform neat tricks, like a monkey that slam dunks a basketball, and even dogs that solve math equations.  

The zoo was opened in 1959 by Kim Il Sung, the nation's first leader, but his grandson and current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has updated it in a bid to increase its popularity as a leisure-time activity. 

The update seems to be working, as thousands of visitors flock to the zoo every day to see Azalea, the smoking chimpanzee.  

Sources: NBC News, New York Daily News / Photo credit: Ron Cruz/Flickr, AP via New York Daily News

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