A Chinese zoo has deleted a viral video of a baby monkey smoking a cigarette after facing backlash from social media users.
“Anti-smoking campaign”: In Hengshui Wildlife Park in China’s Hebei province, a baby macaque named Banjin was filmed smoking a cigarette for the park’s “anti-smoking campaign,” reported The Science Times.
- In the now-viral video posted to Douyin, Banjin is seen on a small bench with a lit cigarette in his mouth. A few seconds later, the woman recording takes the cigarette away.
- According to Metro, the woman said, “Don’t you know smoking is bad for your health? Do you really still smoke? You still smoke.”
- The monkey then falls over, and the woman covers him with a white cloth. The overlay text says, “Oops, it’s hitting him. Smoking is harmful to one’s health.” Before the clip ends, the woman sits Banjin up, then hands him a bucket of seafood that is believed to be his reward.
Reactions: While the wildlife park claimed that the video was created to raise awareness about “the fight against smoking,” it received public outrage online that resulted in the removal of the post.
- Angered viewers said the act was animal abuse. “A zoo should know better than doing this,” one Douyin user said. “They are supposed to care about the animals.”
- Another person wrote, “He fell over on his back like he was dizzy and sick.”
- According to The Daily Star, Douyin users have also found other videos from the zoo’s account that feature caretakers making the zoo’s monkeys perform tricks.
- “There are national regulations regarding the use of wild animals for exhibition purposes and no cruelty to wild animals is allowed. The zoo has the administrative permission needed for the exhibit. We have informed the zoo that animal cruelty is strictly prohibited,” said a wildlife protection unit spokesperson of the Hengshui Natural Resources and Planning Authority.