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Orangutan Sent to Island to Kick Smoking Habit

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(AP)

Hollywood stars always make headlines when their handlers send them to a far-off location to kick an unhealthy habit, but it turns out they're not the only ones.

Grabbing headlines now is Tori, a 13-year-old orangutan who has been sent by her keepers at Indonesia's Taru Jurug Zoo to a deserted island in the middle of a lake within the zoo in order to kick her smoking habit.

Tori, one of four orangutans at the zoo in the Central Java town of Solo, picked up her love of cigarettes from humans who would throw their discarded cigarette butts into her cage.

"A common problem for zoos in Indonesia are naughty visitors," zoo director Lilik Kristianto told the Jakarta Globe newspaper. "Although there are sign prohibiting them from giving food or cigarettes to the animals, they keep on doing it. It is not rare that visitors even hurt the animals."

Tori would hold the still-lit cigarettes between her fingers and puff, just as she watched the humans do, zookeepers said.

Also relegated to the remote island with Tori on Wednesday was her male companion, Didk, who didn't share her same smoking habit but did have a tendency to stamp on the butts to put them out, according to the zoo.

The permanent move is not completely punitive, however. The new island, the zoo says, is a more comfortable home for the primates that has grass and trees to better mimic their natural environment.

"Tori can climb five big trees on the island. This might be the best orangutan enclosure in Indonesia," Kristianto said.

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