A chimpanzee in a Chinese zoo has successfully kicked a 16-year smoking habit after becoming hooked when two spouses died and her daughter left.
Ai Ai, a 27-year-old chimp at the Qinling Safari Park in northern China's Shaanxi province, ended her tobacco dependency when zoo keepers put her on a strict regime that included walking, music therapy and exercise sessions, Xinhua news agency said. It took a month of painstaking efforts to get Mama Chimp to give up the fags after 16 years.
To dispel her loneliness, Ai Ai relied much more heavily on cigarettes. She was up to eight to 10 cigarettes a day before the zoo's management, concerned about her health, decided to help her quit in late August.
"In the first few days, she squealed for cigarettes every now and then, but as her life became more colourful, she gradually forgot about them altogether," one zoo employee said.
Apparently, China is the world's largest cigarette consumer, with education about the dangers of tobacco not widely known.