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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Aping human behaviour: Chimp turns into chain-smoking, beer-swilling chump at zoo

By Amy Oliver

They are our closest living relatives.

But one chimpanzee may have taken the similarities between primate and man too far after being snapped chain smoking and enjoying a cold, can of lager.

The ape puffed on a cigarette at Tianshan wild animal zoo in Tianshan, Xinjiang, China, exhaling like a pro in the sweltering heat.

Scroll down for video

Puffing away: A chimpanzee exhales a huge draw of cigarette smoke at Tianshan wild animal zoo in Tianshan, Xinjiang, China

One is never enough: The chimpanzee then lights another cigarette from his first, unfinished one

He then used the half-smoked cigarette to light another one.

As if that habit wasn't bad enough, the chimp was then photographed guzzling down a can of beer, while his cigarette rested in his other hand.

The chimp is not the first ape to light up.

Another, from Zhengzhou Zoo in Henan province, China, took up smoking and spitting in 2004 after becoming sexually frustrated.

A beer as well? Why not: The chimp then gets stuck into a can of lager

Feili, then 13, had aped tourist behaviour, taking up the foul habit when her partner - 28 years her senior - was unable 'to meet her sexual demands'.

Then there was Ai Ai, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, from Xian, in central China's Shaanxi province, who took up comfort smoking when her mate died in 2005.

But the most famous smoking chimp was Charlie who died aged 52 in Mangaung Zoo, South Africa in 2001. He first sparked up after tourists threw him a couple of lit cigarettes.

At the time, a zoo spokesman said Charlie had only been an 'occasional smoker'. He lived around 10 years longer than the average chimp.

Video: Charlie the chimp filmed when he was a young smoker in Paignton Zoo, Devon



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