Calling all dog lovers! Sign up to TeamDogs for your weekly dose of dog news, pictures and stories.
A barmy zoo in North Korea, thought to be a pet project of the country's leader Kim Jong-un, is home to several animals with an array of bizarre talents ranging from the crazy to the downright cruel.
The zoo is located in the country's capital of Pyongyang and has long been slammed by animal rights activists.
In 2016, Kim Jong-un ordered that it be renovated in a bid to modernise the rogue nation's attractions.
Reportedly, one of the zoo's more wacky exhibits is a parrot that can recite an ode to Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un's grandfather, who ruled North Korea until 1994.
They are also said to have trained dogs to do arithmetic using abacuses, as well as monkeys able to shoot basketballs into hoops.
The darker side of the zoo is highlighted by 25-year-old chimp Azalea, who has been trained to smoke 40 cigarettes a day to entertain visitors.
The chimp is reportedly encouraged by its trainer to spark up using a lighter or an already lit cig, and has also been taught a dance.
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: "[It is] cruel to willfully addict a chimpanzee to tobacco for human amusement."
Despite zookeepers insisting that Azalea did not inhale the tobacco fumes they eventually agreed to ween the chimp off her harmful habit.
One animal expert has visited the facility over two dozen times in the past 30 years, and can attest to what conditions are really like in one of the world's most crazy zoos.
Jonas Walhstrom, managing director of a wildlife park in Stockholm, was brought in by North Korean authorities to assist the zookeepers and said he was infuriated by the chain smoking chimp.
However, Jonas has also said that they have been implementing some changes to improve animal welfare.
He told The Sun: "I have quite a few contacts outside of work so I've been able to help them, to teach them a lot of good things so they can take care of the animals.
"I'm trying hard to teach them the importance of enrichment. It's a bit slow, but finally they've listened to what I'm trying to say."
Jonas has gifted the zoo several smaller animals over the years, including turtles, meerkats, baby crocodiles and boa constrictors.
He also noted the how zookeepers are extremely grateful for "help from the Leader", with most of the animals having been gifted to North Korea's ruling family.
He explained: "Mao Zedong gave them giant pandas, Ho Chi Minh gave them elephants, Mugabe gave them rhinos and Gadaffi gave them camels. So beside every exhibit is a sign saying they are a gift from Ho Chi Minh, or whatever."
Jonas added that his work with the North Korean zoo is motivated by animal welfare concerns and is strictly apolitical.
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.
- North Korea Dprk
- Kim Jong Un
Source: Read Full Article