Omega, a 12-year-old chimpanzee who was living at a private zoo in Lebanon and entertaining visitors by smoking cigarettes, will go to a wildlife sanctuary in Sao Paolo, Brazil on Monday. At the sanctuary, Omega will have the opportunity to live a more enriched life, interacting with other chimpanzees.
This will be a big contrast to the life he has known. When Omega was young, he lived at a restaurant and was trained to smoke cigarettes and interact with customers. At the zoo in Lebanon, zoo patrons would toss cigarette butts into his 430 square foot (40 square meter) cage, and Omega would pick them up to smoke.
Lebanon has no animal rights regulations. Animals Lebanon, the group that rescued Omega from the zoo, has been advocating that Lebanon join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and adopt laws that protect primates.
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