Frequent "treats" by visitors of a Russian zoo made one of its resident, Zhora the chimpanzee, an alcoholic and nicotine addict, a Russian daily has said.
Zoo authorities in the Russian city of Rostov (200 km northeast of Moscow) were quoted by Komsomolskaya Pravda as saying Zhora, who had been brought to the zoo from the Tatarstan republic five years ago, was to be taken back to the republic for treatment in early March.
They said visitors at the zoo frequently gave the chimpanzee, a former circus artist, alcohol and cigarettes which eventually led to heavy addiction.
"We asked visitors not to give him [alcohol and cigarettes], but it was all in vain," the Rostov zoo deputy head was quoted by the paper as saying. Although Zhora was kept behind a three rows of fences, visitors managed to throw him bottles and cigarettes, Nadezhda Yeutushenko said.
"People laugh when they see an animal drinking [alcohol] and smoking, but vicious habits damage [the animal's] health, and many do not understand this," zoo workers said.