A chimpanzee named Omega, trained to smoke cigarettes has been rescued from a zoo in Lebanon and is being sent to a Sao Paolo sanctuary in Brazil.

In his younger years, Omega was made to smoke cigarettes to entertain people in one of the local restaurants. After he grew stronger, he was taken to a zoo where for the past 10 years he has lived in a cage measuring 430 square feet (40 square meters).

Omega originally learned to smoke as entertainment for customers at a restaurant. After being moved to a zoo, he still continued to smoke because visitors would throw cigarettes into his cage.

Lebanese animal rights campaigners were responsible for rescuing Omega. They also helped to find all of the other animals alternate homes and worked with the owner to close the zoo.

However his problems are not over, Omega is still addicted to nicotine, “The chimp still regularly smokes ... if someone throws him a cigarette he'd pick it up and go for it straight away,” said Jason Meier, executive director for animal rights group Animals Lebanon.

Omega is 12 years old and has spent his whole life around humans. He has never climbed trees or spent time around other chimps. His life at the sanctuary will be his first experience living as a true chimpanzee.


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