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Activist slams treatment of smoking orangutan
Syed Shayaan Bakht March 09, 2018
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Sharjah: Recently a video of an orangutan puffing on an Indonesian zoo visitor’s cigarette went viral. Animal rights activists slammed the zoo, infamous for mistreatment of animals, after a clip emerged of one of its orangutans smoking.

The video created a social media sensation with netizens and animal rights activists from around the globe criticising the unethical act by the visitor.

The Gulf Today in an exclusive email interview asked Indonesia’s prominent animal rights activist, and Director of Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, Marison Guaciano, for his opinion regarding this incident.

Marison Guaciano replied, “I know this orangutan’s name, it is Ozon. I am very sad and angry to see the visitor throw a cigarette into the orangutan enclosure. This visitor is clearly ignorant. But, really, I blame the management of Bandung zoo; it does not take sufficient care of the animals or care about their quality of life, or how visitors interact with them.”

An emotional Guaciano also said, “The government does not make it a priority to standardise animal welfare standards across zoos. So, everyone is at fault: government, zoo management, and visitors.

“Orangutans are intelligent creatures. I do not know if he has ever smoked. But it could be that the orangutan imitates visitors who often come close to his enclosure.

“I was angry. That guy who threw the cigarette to the orangutan needs to be educated. He has no respect for animals. To him, it’s just a bit of fun. Educating visitors is critical. Zoo employees can play a part in this education...”

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