Smoking chimps exemplify animals behaving human

Two chimpanzees prove that some animals can express frustration in the most human of ways.

Thirteen-year-old Feili, a chimpanzee at Zhengzhou Zoo in China, reportedly began smoking in response to her frustration after her partner, who is 28 years her senior, was unable to meet her sexual demands, according to an August 2004 BBC article.

That a chimp can express such a complicated emotion in such an overt way serves as a reminder that animals are more relatable to humans than what was traditionally believed.

Another chimp from a South African zoo sparked concerns after reports that he took up smoking cigarettes. Both chimps adapted the habit after imitating smoking tourists who threw cigarette butts into their cages, according to an April 15 article from Reuters.

Zookeepers have been trying to figure out a way to kick both chimpanzees from the habit.

But getting them to quit has proved a formidable task because the chimps have gone to such lengths as hiding the butts when zookeepers arrive and using a stick to scrape up a cigarette that is thrown just outside their cages.

Who knew animals could be so human in getting what they want, even to the point of deception, which was once considered an exclusively human trait?

The tourists are no doubt wrong to throw lit cigarettes into the chimps’ cages – they have been jeopardizing the chimps’ health and safety.

But the events serve as a humorous (or disturbing) reminder that even animals can experience such human-like issues as sexual frustration, deception and substance abuse.

These events could potentially open the door to a new animal civil rights movement. The result, with animal rights activists arguing that chimps have the legal right to smoke, would be nothing short of hilarious.