A Russian tourist arrested at Ngurah Rai International Airport
A Russian tourist has been arrested at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali after quarantine officers discovered an orangutan asleep inside his suitcase.
Andrei Zhestkov, 27, was taken into custody at the airport after an X-ray found the two-year-old male orangutan in a rattan basket inside his luggage.
A spokesman from Bali province’s conservation agency said, they also found allergy pills wrapped in plastic – along with five lizards and two geckos.
Marbawa said Russian tourist Zhestkov was ‘prepared like he was transporting a baby’.
Zhestkov admitted to authorities that he had fed the orangutan with the allergy pills, which had been mixed with milk. He bought the orangutan for $3,000 (£2,270) from a market on Indonesia’s main island of Java after being told by a friend that he could bring it home as a pet.
Dewa Delanata, head of the airport’s quarantine office, said “The Russian deliberately used an inhumane method to take the orangutan to Russia At first, we thought it was a monkey. The officers were afraid to open the basket, as they thought the monkey would be aggressive and run loose in the departure area.”
The basket was then taken to another room for further examination, which was when they made the discovery. When it was taken to the examination room and we opened it, we were shocked to find an orangutan.
Orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Only around 13,400 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild.
The Russian could face up to five years in prison and $7,000 (£5,300) in fines for smuggling, Marbawa said.
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