Video Shows Orangutan Smoking Cigarette in Indonesian 'Death Zoo'

A critically endangered orangutan has been caught smoking in an Indonesian zoo—again. In a video taken of the incident, a visitor is shown tossing a cigarette to a Bornean orangutan named Ozon, who picks it up, sits down and puts it in its mouth. As the video goes on, the animal is clearly breathing out clouds of smoke.

Signs at the Bandung Zoo “warn visitors to not feed animals or give them cigarettes”and the zoo reported the incident to the police, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. One activist, however, said the incident shows that the zoo's management displays an "ignorance of supervision and education for visitors." A zoo spokesperson expressed "regret that such a thing happened." 

Some refer to the zoo as a “death zoo” because of reportedly unsanitary conditions and alarming treatment of animals, according to a petition that has received nearly 1 million signatures. (Bandung is not the only place in Indonesia with this label; Surabaya Zoo is another “death zoo,” according to The petition calls for the president of Indonesia, Jodo Widodo, to shut the zoo down.

bornean orangutan paris People look at a Bornean Orangutan on August 16, 2015 at the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes botanical garden in Paris. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Bornean orangutans are considered critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' Red List, because of habitat loss and hunting. The species is listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The international agreement between governments forbids people from selling any parts of these orangutans across international borders unless there are "exceptional circumstances." The rule includes live orangutans. 

One 2013 study found that about 50 percent of the world orangutan population may have been killed in the last 40 years. They are also considered the largest mammals to spend most of their lives in trees. 

Ozon is also not the only orangutan lighting up in Indonesia. In 2012, a 15-year-old endangered orangutan named Tori had to be moved away from visitors who would toss cigarettes to her, then take photos and videos of her smoking. Eventually, she and a male companion were moved to a separate location, according to the BBC.

Tori’s story, at least, has a happy ending. She gave birth shortly after her move, Time reported. The infant was named after the then-mayor of Surakarta, the city where the zoo is located. The mayor at the time was Jodo Widodo—now the country's president. 

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