POLICE are investigating animal abuse in Bandung, Indonesia, after a video of an orangutan smoking a cigarette at a local zoo went viral and drew outrage online.
Footage shows a male visitor throwing a cigarette into the enclosure of 22-year-old Borean orangutan Ozon at Bandung zoo. The primate subsequently picks up the cigarette and smokes it.
Spokesman for local police Hendro Pandowo said that the suspect who threw the cigarette could be charged with violating laws against animal abuse, which carries a maximum sentence of three months in jail, reported The Jakarta Post.
“He has not been arrested,” said Hendro, noting that if the animal dies as a result, the sentence can be up to 9 months’ imprisonment.
Animal rights groups slammed the incident, arguing that it is indicative of widespread animal abuse in the country’s zoos. “Weak control by zoo management also needs to be addressed,” said Marison Guciano, founder of the Indonesia Animal Welfare Society.
“But the root of the problem is that we do not have animal welfare standards at zoos. Almost all zoos are in poor condition… from the cages and feeding needs to the animals’ health.”