JOHOR BARU: Shirley the chain-smoking orang utan is being given the “cold turkey” treatment at the Malacca Zoo to help her kick the habit.
The primate will be placed under intensive rehabilitation for two weeks before being transferred to Sarawak.
“Actually, Shirley picked up the smoking habit while living in a longhouse as a pet in Sarawak and not in Johor Zoo,” Perhilitan deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainol Abidin said.
He said the officer in charge of the rehabilitation would have to be very “strict” with Shirley by not entertaining her request for cigarettes.
Dr Zaaba also said the Malacca Zoo would conduct a thorough medical check-up on the female orang utan to determine whether Shirley suffered from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer or difficulty in conceiving.
He added that the zoo would conduct a DNA test to determine Shirley’s exact age.
The Johor Zoo has claimed that Shirley is 20 years old.
Dr Zaaba pointed out that Johor Zoo was not to be blamed for Shirley’s smoking addiction as the zoo had done its best to ensure that the orang utan did not smoke while under its care.