Admittedly, a chronic smoking habit does not seem like the healthiest life choice for a captive monkey, but officials at South Africa's Mangaung Zoo, where Charlie resided with his wife, Judy, say old age, not cigarettes, killed Charlie. (They may have a point: the average life expectancy for a chimp in captivity is 40 years.) Nonetheless, zoo spokesman Qondile Khedama confirmed to The Telegraph that a post mortem would be needed to officially determine the cause of death.
Also downplaying the cigarette angle was Daryl Barnes, the zoo's senior nature conservator, who told The Sun "no signs of addiction, or withdrawal, [had] ever been noticed" in the chimp. Moreover, Barnes said that in his 15 years at the zoo, he only saw Charlie smoke five times.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.