Aza­lea the smok­ing chimp new star at Py­ongyang zoo

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Py­ongyang’s newly opened zoo has a new star: Aza­lea, the smok­ing chim­panzee. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials at the newly ren­o­vated zoo, which has be­come a fa­vorite leisure spot in the North Korean cap­i­tal since it re-opened in July, the 19-year-old fe­male chim­panzee, whose name in Korean is “Dalle,” smokes about a pack a day. Dalle is short for aza­lea. They in­sist, how­ever, she doesn’t in­hale. Thrown a lighter by a zoo trainer, the chim­panzee lights her own cig­a­rettes. If a lighter isn’t avail­able, she can light up from lit cig­a­rette if one is tossed her way.

Though such a sight would be cringe-wor­thy in many other lo­cales, it seemed to de­light vis­i­tors who roared with laugh­ter yes­ter­day as the chim­panzee, one of two at the zoo, sat puff­ing away as her trainer egged her on. The trainer also prompted her to touch her nose, bow thank you and do a sim­ple dance. The zoo is pulling in thou­sands of vis­i­tors a day with a slew of at­trac­tions rang­ing from such typ­i­cal fare as ele­phants, gi­raffes, pen­guins and mon­keys to a high-tech nat­u­ral his­tory mu­seum with dis­plays show­ing the ori­gins of the so­lar sys­tem and the evo­lu­tion of life on Earth. An­other of the most pop­u­lar at­trac­tions that might come as a sur­prise to for­eign vis­i­tors is the dog pavil­ion, which has ev­ery­thing from Ger­man shep­herds to Shih Tsus. The zoo also has per­for­mances fea­tur­ing other an­i­mals trained to do tricks, in­clud­ing a mon­key that slam dunks bas­ket­balls, dogs trained to ap­pear as though they can do ad­di­tion on sub­trac­tion on an aba­cus and

doves that fly around and land on a woman skat­ing on an in­door stage. Ren­o­va­tions for the new zoo be­gan in 2014, as part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s ef­forts to cre­ate more mod­ern and im­pres­sive struc­tures and leisure cen­ters around the cap­i­tal. The zoo ac­tu­ally dates back to 1959, when Kim Il Sung, the na­tion’s first leader and the grand­fa­ther of Kim Jong Un, or­dered it built on the out­skirts of the city. Ac­cord­ing to its of­fi­cial his­tory, the zoo started off with only 50 bad­gers. — AP

Aza­lea, whose Korean name is ‘Dalle’, a 19-year-old fe­male chim­panzee, lights a cig­a­rette at the Cen­tral Zoo in Py­ongyang, North Korea yes­ter­day. — AP

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