Chimp at North Korea zoo trained to chain smoke cigarettes as attraction

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Azalea is a 19-year-old chimp who has had the  bad luck to be part of Kim Jong Un’s  North Korea zoo in Pyongyang. According to the Guardian, notwithstanding the usual neglect and prison status of zoo denizens, some disgusting trainer taught Azalea to chain smoke cigarettes; she knows how to use a lighter, exhale smoke and then bows and dances for North Korea’s Central Zoo visitors.chimp-smoking-2

So now Azalea is referred to as the “gawker” attraction and smokes 20 cigarettes a day since the North Korea zoo reopened. Officials at the zoo claim Azalea, whose Korean name is “Dallae”, doesn’t inhale the cigarette smoke and just pushes the smoke out between her cheeks. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), has criticized the zoo for keeping the animals to “attract gawkers.”

“This exemplifies the problem with any captive wildlife displayed for profit. They are made to do unnatural and freakish things to attract gawkers. The good news is that the civilized world is moving away from this, like the gradual elimination of orcas from places like Seaworld,” states Carter Dillard, Director of Litigation for the ALDF.

In the newly renovated zoo, obviously restructured to make money off the animals and forcing them to perform in ridiculous and health hazardous conditions, also exists the Dog Pavilion where Shih Tzus and Schnauzers do tricks. Another monkey attraction shows the primate playing basketball. One can only shake in disgust how these animals are abused; making sure they become “gawkworthy.”

Can there be no doubt that smoking is as dangerous to Azalea’s health as it is to humans; tragically Azalea has no one to help her quit. In addition the zoo has gathered up hyenas, antelopes and reportedly 90 more exotic animals. NK News reports more than 90 species have been added to the zoo and another 100 bred there; totaling nearly 800 animals.

The renovations are part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to create more modern structures and leisure centers around the capital.

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(Photos via screenshot Nbcnews)



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  1. Not to be smart, but with the price of cigarettes, you would think they would benefit from this chimp “kicking the habit”. I hope with the media attention, things will soon change for the animals at this side show zoo. I pray they will find better living conditions asap.


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