A video of a female chimpanzee smoking like a pro in an enclosure at a Chinese zoo has sparked controversy.
Tourists had allegedly thrown a cigarette into the enclosure before the 15-year-old primate picked it up and puffed away.
The news came after the chimpanzee’s 13-year-old ‘husband’ was filmed fly-kicking a worker while trying to escape from the zoo in July.
The footage, circulating on Chinese social media from Saturday, was filmed at Hefei Wildlife Park in eastern China’s Anhui Province.
The 11-second clip shows the primate holding the cigarette between two fingers in her left hand before taking a puff.
The chimpanzee found the cigarette after it had been tossed by ‘uncivilised tourists’, one zoo worker told Chinese news outlet The Paper.
The unnamed worker also claimed that the animal’s health wouldn’t be affected by one cigarette.
The worker said: ‘It had one cigarette. Nothing bad will come of that. Humans smoke for tens of years.’
The staff member also explained it was difficult for the zoo’s staff to keep an eye on its large number of visitors.
‘We have tens of thousands of tourists a day, but only more than 100 workers.’
The viral clip caused public uproar in the country, with many web users expressing concerns for the animal’s well-being and accusing the zoo of failing to properly supervise its visitors.
In response to criticism, the zoo told MailOnline that the chimpanzee in question had good health.
A director of the zoo, Mr Zhan, said the smoking primate was a 15-year-old female chimpanzee, named Wan Xing. He claimed that the video was not filmed recently.
According to Mr Zhan, Wan Ben was born in the zoo in 2004 and now lives there with her father, 28-year-old Shan Beng, and her partner, 13-year-old Yang Yang.
The director said the zoo had three keepers for the chimpanzee family, and they looked after the animals ‘very well’.
He also claimed that the unnamed worker had not been authorised to speak to the press and their statement did not represent the zoo’s position.
In July, Wan Xing’s partner Yang Yang caused chaos at the zoo after escaping his enclosure using a bamboo tree, startling visitors and staff.
Footage shows Yang Yang flying-kicking a worker who was attempting to stop him from leaving the zoo’s main gate.
The 13-year-old animal was subdued after being shot with a tranquiliser by police.
Yang Yang now lives happily and healthily in the zoo, according to Mr Zhan.