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Monday, August 29, 2005

Primate puff, puff and away!

It's not a sight one would expect to come across in the chimpanzee enclosure.

But visitors to a zoo in China are having to get used to the sight of its resident primate puffing away on a cigarette.
Ai Ai formed the habit after watching visitors and her keepers smoking at Qinling Zoo, in central Shaanxi province.

It is thought the 26-year-old had been struggling to cope with the death of her second mate and one of her offspring.

She began picking up butts near her cage and now is given whole cigarettes from time to time to keep her calm. Keepers are trying to gradually reduce her daily intake.