At a Bali airport, a Russian traveler was arrested on Friday night for trying to smuggle a baby orangutan in his luggage back to his country to become his pet. The man now faces a punishment of five years in prison and a $7,000 fine.
According to the Indonesian Wildlife Foundation, Andrei Zhestkov was detained at the Ngurah Rai International Airport before boarding a flight back to Russia. The Guardian reported officials found the two-year-old baby orangutan asleep in a wicker basket during a routine luggage screening; he had been drugged with allergy pills.
Zhestkov, 27, told police a friend of his purchased the protected species at a market for $3,000 and gave him the organgutan assuring him it was legal to transport the animal back to Russia and keep it as a pet. Zhestkov also had been carrying two geckos and five lizards. Blankets and baby formula were found packed in the luggage.
There are less than 100,000 orangutans left around the world.
“He seemed prepared,” a Bali inspector stated, “like he was transporting a baby.
The baby is currently in the care of Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency.
(Photos Handout / Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Bali)