An orangutan
A female orangutan named Shirley is being forced by her keepers to quit smoking. Photo Credit: Itshears/

Mind altering substances are enjoyed by members of the animal kingdom other than humans. For instance, a female orangutan named Shirley is being forced by the Malaysian zoo where she lives to quit smoking.

Zookeepers decide Shirley must quit

According to the Daily Mail, an orangutan in a Malaysian zoo is being forced to kick her smoking habit. Visitors would toss cigarettes into the orangutan enclosure at the zoo in the state of Johor, and she would smoke them. Malaysian authorities, according to The Guardian, seized Shirley from the zoo along with other animals when wildlife officials deemed they were living in awful conditions. Shirley is going to be placed at a wildlife refuge in Borneo and is going to be quitting “cold-turkey.” According to The Star, a Malaysian English-language newspaper, officials say Shirley acquired the habit when she was a privately kept pet before being acquired by the Johor zoo.

Not the first puffing primate

Other apes have also been observed smoking. A chimpanzee named Charlie in a zoo located in Bloemfontein, South Africa, was a tourist attraction for years as he chain-smoked the cigarettes patrons would throw him, according to MSNBC. Charlie died in 2010, but his death was unrelated to smoking. Charlie, according to The Telegraph, died of old age. He was 52, and most chimps rarely see 40, even in captivity. In the wild, chimpanzees have a life expectancy of 15 years, with only 7 percent living to 40. Zhora, a chimpanzee in Russia, according to, was sent to rehab after his behavior got out of hand. Zhora, originally a circus chimp, became too aggressive with circus handlers and was sent to a zoo in Rostov, a city near the Ukrainian border. While at the Rostov zoo, Zhora fathered several baby chimps and starting drinking beer and smoking. He frequently begged for more beer and smokes from zoo patrons.

Twisted moose on the loose

This behavior isn’t present only in primates. A drunken moose was recently found in a tree at a residence outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, according to CNN. The moose ate fermented apples and became tangled in the apple tree. After being freed by the fire department, it passed out on the ground.

An article in the Scientific American recounts other animals belting down the booze. A black bear was found drunk on beer and passed out in Washington state in 2004. In 2007, a group of elephants in Meghalaya, India, drank a large tub of homemade rice liquor and went on a drunken rampage, uprooting utility poles and getting electrocuted. Malaysian pentailed treeshrews regularly eat nectar from bertam palm flowers, which ferments naturally due to wild yeast, yielding an alcoholic content about the same as light beer.


The Daily Mail:

The Guardian:

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The Telegraph:


Scientific American:

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