Eighties pop singer Pete Burns has been slammed by animal rights campaigners and faces possible imprisonment for wearing a "gorilla skin" coat on UK reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother.

The former DEAD OR ALIVE star yesterday (09JAN06) angered his fellow contestants, who include US basketball star Dennis Rodman and former Baywatch beauty Traci Bingham, when he claimed his flamboyant coat was made from the endangered species' fur.

Burns' admission could potentially land him in jail.

The UK's Biodiversity Minister JIM KNIGHT says, "If this is in fact a gorilla skin, there may be serious consequences."

While it is yet to be confirmed if the fur jacket worn by Burns is specifically made from gorilla skin, animal rights activists are appealing for British TV viewers to vote the cross-dresser off the show anyway.

People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) spokeswoman YVONNE TAYLOR says, "Whether it's gorilla, fox, mink, cat or dog fur, any animal would have suffered to make that coat.

"We're calling on all animal lovers to vote Pete out as soon as possible because of what he said on the show.

"We would also really like him to donate the coat to PETA so that we can use it for educational purposes and in protests."