Charlie the chimp, known for his cigarette habit, has died at his home in a South African Zoo.
After picking up a smoking habit because of cigarettes being thrown into his enclosure at the Mangaung Zoo in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Charlie began to bum smokes from zoo visitors by gesturing to his mouth with two fingers, mimicking the actions of smokers he’d watched. (See photos of the world’s most endangered primates)
Visitors continued to indulge the chimp, bringing on a hailstorm of accusations from animal rights activists when videos surfaced online not long after, prompting Bloemfontein zoo officials to try to cut Charlie’s nicotine supply off entirely.
Zoo officials claim that smoking was not a factor in the Charlie’s death, who at 52, lived ten years beyond the normal life expectancy of the average chimpanzee.
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“Even though he has been receiving special care, and a special diet including protein shakes, vitamin and mineral supplements, he succumbed to old age,” Zoo spokesman Qondile Khedama told the BBC, which also reports of another chimp in Russia who entered a rehabilitation process after “he started pestering visitors for alcohol and cigarettes.”