Tori the Chain-Smoking Orangutan Gives Birth

Surprisingly in Indonesia -- the country with most smokers and most orangutans in the world -- a smoking orangutan is making headlines.

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Associated Press

Tori, a female orangutan carries her baby at Satwa Taru Jurug zoo in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. She gave birth to the baby on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.

Indonesia’s infamous smoking orangutan has her hands full these days — but no longer with cigarettes. Tori, the 15-year-old orangutan who launched to fame because of her incessant smoking habit, gave birth last Wednesday to a “fuzzy baby” named Jokowi in a zoo in the Indonesian city Surakarta, the Jakarta Globe reports. The mother seems to have kicked the habit, according to the zoo, and is now focusing on the demands of motherhood. “We’re very happy. The baby is healthy and Tori is a good mother,” Taru Jurug Zoo director Lilik Kristanto told the AFP.

She was mated last November and smoked throughout most of her pregnancy. But in July, she was effectively exiled to a remote island within the zoo to help kick the habit, along with her non-smoking partner Didik. For 10 years, she chain-smoked cigarettes that visitors tossed to her, learning how to puff by imitating the motions of visitors. While on the tiny island, she was forced to go cold turkey and kick the habit.

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The orangutan’s addiction was so strong that she would throw things at visitors if they didn’t comply with her request for smokes. She would even throw tantrums when the 20-year-old Didik stamped out her cigarettes, according to the Jaka rta Post. While secluded on the island, zookeepers took precautions to alleviate the torments of nicotine withdrawal: they provided the couple with a swinging rope for their new smoke-free home, Daniek Hendarto, Center for Orangutan Protection coordinator, told the Globe.

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With low taxes and minimal anti-smoking legislation, the world’s fourth most-populous country is also the most smoking-addicted place on the planet. In Indonesia, famous for its clove-flavored kretek cigarettes, nearly 70% of of all males over age 15 smoke, according to last year’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

The monkey baby was named after the nickname of Surakarta mayor Jodo Widodo, who will advance to the governorship of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta in later this month. Jokowi’s birth is the first orangutan born at the zoo since its mother.

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