Sportress of Blogitude’s Wild Kingdom: Rest In Peace, Charlie The Smoking Chimp
Qondile Khedama, a spokesman for the central South African city of Bloemfontein where Charlie had been a fixture at the small zoo, says the chimp died Tuesday, apparently of old age. Charlie was believed to be 52.
Khedama says zoo officials noticed about five years ago that visitors were tossing Charlie cigarettes, and he was mimicking smokers. Khedama says zookeepers tried to stop visitors from encouraging Charlie in a habit many humans are trying to quit.
Newspapers picked up the story. Charlie featured in a U.S. TV news report, and became the first animal visitors would ask to see.
When videos of him puffing away circulated globally a few years ago, zoo officials moved to cut off the supply of smokes.
You may be gone, Charlie, but we’ll never forget you. Smoke ’em if you got ’em, everybody.
/lights up smoke in honor of my fallen comrade
Charlie the smoking chimp dies of old age [msnbc]