The smoking chimpanzee: Meet Azalea in picture and video

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Azalea smoking chimp
Azalea smoking chimp

Los angeles : In North Korea, Pyongyang's newly opened zoo is drawing crowds for a new star attraction: Azalea, the smoking chimpanzee!

Azalea, the 19-year-old female chimp, is a chain smoker and smokes about a pack a day. Her name in Korean is "Dallae", which is short for azalea.

According to zoo authorities, “When thrown a lighter by some tourists, the chimp lights her own cigarettes. She can even light a cigarette from a lit one if tossed away. However, she doesn't inhale.”

Albeit smoking is considered inappropriate in several cultures, the tourists who throng at the zoo get delighted and roar with laughter once the chimpanzee sokes her puff.

She is even trained to touch her nose, bow thank you and do a simple dance.

Because of this attraction, the zoo is pulling in thousands of visitors who also stay to watch other animals like elephants, giraffes, penguins and monkeys. A high-tech natural history museum with displays showing the origins of the solar system and the evolution of life on Earth also draws attraction.

The zoo boasts of several performances featuring 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.

The zoo is part of a business idea of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's efforts to create more leisure centers around the capital. The zoo actually dates back to 1959 and was recently renovated in 2014 under Kim Jong Un’s instructions.