A zoo is facing a backlash after filming a baby monkey smoking as part of a bizarre ‘public health campaign’.
The primate was allegedly forced to chug on the cigarette at Hengshui Zoo, in the Chinese province of Hebei, in an apparent attempt to discourage people from the habit.
But the footage, shared on TikTok, sparked fury among animal lovers and has now been deleted from the social media site.
The monkey, believed to be named Banjin, is seen sitting on a tiny wooden stool wearing a purple jumpsuit-style garment, dipping its head and blinking as it appears to try and avoid smoke getting in its eyes.
He reluctantly gives up the cigarette after a woman off-screen removes it, saying it is harmful.
She says: ‘Don’t you know smoking is bad for your health? Do you really still smoke? You still smoke.’
The primate then rubs its face before rolling off the seat and lying on the floor, appearing to be disorientated.
At the end of the clip, the monkey is offered a bucket of seafood, believed to be a reward for its performance in the ‘anti-smoking’ film.
The zoo reportedly claimed the video had been made as a public health campaign (Picture: ViralPress)
According to local media, the zoo claimed it was just a ‘gimmick’ when responding to accusations of animal abuse online.
A member of staff reportedly said: ‘It’s just a gimmick to advise everyone not to smoke by using a monkey. It’s not really a smoking monkey.’
But social media users slammed the zoo, with one suggesting the monkey appeared to be ‘dizzy and sick’ when he fell over.
Another said the zoo should know better, adding: ‘They are supposed to care about animals.’
Other videos are said to show the monkey eating chocolate ice lollies and a probiotic yoghurt-type drink.
Bosses at the park have yet to comment on the incident and it is unclear whether the authorities have received a report or plan to investigate.
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