A sedated orangutan brood was found by Indonesian customs police hiding in the luggage of a man of Russian nationality as he tried to pass through the controls at the international airport on the island of Bali, local authorities reported on Monday.
The male ape, about two years old, was confiscated at dawn last Friday when the suspect was trying to board a flight to Russia, the police and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency said today at a press conference. (BKSDA, in Indonesian acronym) in the provincial capital, Denpasar.
"The condition of the orangutan is good, but he is stressed because he was treated badly and sedated," Budhi Kurniawan, head of BKSDA in Bali, told Efe by telephone.
Along with the orangutan, a species that according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature is seriously threatened, the police also found two gekko and five other lizards.
Police said the orangutan is recovering at Bali Safari Zoo and said that the detainee faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a financial penalty of 100 million rupees (about 7,050 dollars or 6,230 euros), for contraband of protected species.
The suspect alleged when he was arrested that another person of Russian nationality, who is already out of Indonesia, gave him the primate after buying it in a street market in the center of the island of Java for $ 3,000 (about 2,650 euros).
Budhi said his agency is investigating the animal's DNA, which lives only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, to determine its place of origin before deciding on its relocation.
On March 13, an adult orangutan was found with 74 shots of pellets on the body with her young, who died hours later as a result of malnutrition, in the province of Aceh, in western Sumatra.
Orangutans hang on the threats of poaching, which causes the death of mothers, attacks by farmers to protect their crops and the fragmentation of their habitat due to agricultural expansion, especially palm oil. and other industries and infrastructures.
The Indonesian government estimates that 71,640 orangutans live on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, which Indonesia shares with Malaysia and Brunei, although the ape population is in decline, according to a government report published in 2017