Alcoholic Russian Chimp Off to Rehab

ABC's Alexander Marquardt reports from Moscow:

They tried to make him go to rehab…and, well, he didn’t really have a choice.

A chimpanzee named Zhora is leaving his zoo in the Russian city of Rostov and heading to a rehab center to cure his addictions to alcohol and cigarettes.

Zoo officials told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that the chimp would beg visitors for booze and cigarettes and they would happily oblige.

“We kept asking visitors not to feed him, but it was pointless,” said the deputy head of the zoo. “Zhora would sit behind three rows of fence, but the visitors still somehow managed to throw him bottles over the top.”

"People laugh when they see an animal drinking and smoking, but vicious habits damage health , and many do not understand this."

Zhora was once part of a circus but grew aggressive, the report says, so he was handed over to the zoo where he fathered several babies.

He is due at the rehab center in Kazan, 500 miles east of Moscow, early this month.

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