Stop Forcing Azalea the Chimpanzee to Chain Smoke


Target: Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Goal: Stop forcing captive chimpanzee to smoke cigarettes for human amusement.

One of the main new attractions at the Pyongyang Zoo in North Korea—also known as the Korea Central Zoo—is a chimpanzee who has been made to chain-smoke cigarettes to entertain visitors. The chimp, 19-year-old Azalea (“Dallae” in Korean), reportedly smokes 20 cigarettes a day—a full pack. This is just one of Azalea’s tricks said to delight local visitors; they also enjoy watching her dance.

Azalea is able to light her own cigarettes when her trainer tosses her a lighter. Otherwise, she chain smokes by lighting a new cigarette from the butt of one that is already lit. Her trainer says that the chimp does not inhale the smoke, but photos taken at the zoo show her exhaling a smoke cloud, and animal rights activists are up in arms.

Since the zoo reopened after refurbishment, it attracts visitors with a variety of animals trained to perform and do tricks. Ingrid Newkirk, president of animal rights organization PETA, said to Time magazine that zoos are slowly realizing that this type of spectacle exploits the animals, and that the question is now becoming why we keep wild animals behind bars at all. On the subject of the chimpanzee, she commented, “How cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement.”

Sign below to demand that the Pyongyang Zoo stop damaging Azalea’s health for the sake of entertainment.


Dear Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un,

The exploitation of the health of the chain-smoking chimpanzee at Pyongyang Zoo is unacceptable. Although 19-year-old chimp Dallae’s trainer says she does not inhale, photographs from the zoo show the primate breathing out a cloud of smoke, and cigarette smoke is proven to be harmful even when it is not inhaled directly.

Dallae is now smoking a full pack of cigarettes per day, and is capable of lighting them not just using a lighter, but also using the butt of a previously lit cigarette, all for the amusement of the zoo’s visitors. This is an exploitative and cruel exposure of a defenseless chimpanzee to the health hazards of tobacco and addiction. I urge you to stop this terrible treatment of Dallae and end the practice of having her smoke cigarettes for show.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Justin

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  1. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

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