Tourist Arrested After Officials Discover Drugged Orangutan In His Suitcase

A man has been arrested at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali after quarantine officers discovered an orangutan asleep inside his suitcase.

Conservation official Ketut Catur Marbawa explained Andrei Zhestjov, 27, had smuggled a sleeping two-year-old orangutan in a rattan basket placed inside his case.

The orangutan had been placed in a basket inside the suitcase. Credit: Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency
The orangutan had been placed in a basket inside the suitcase. Credit: Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency

Officers 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 he had fed the orangutan the allergy pills, which had been mixed with milk. Marbawa said this made the animal lost consciousness for up to three hours.

According to Marbawa, the Russian could face up to five years in prison and $7,000 (£5,300) in fines for smuggling, Marbawa said.

Denpasar police chief Ruddi Setiawan, center left, holds the orangutan beside Andrei Zhestkov, centre right. Credit: PA
Denpasar police chief Ruddi Setiawan, center left, holds the orangutan beside Andrei Zhestkov, centre right. Credit: PA

The sleeping animal was discovered by quarantine officers and airport security at around 10.30pm on Friday 22 March.

Dewa Delanata, head of the airport's quarantine office, told The Jakarta Post: "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."

The orangutan being held by a vet. Credit: PA
The orangutan being held by a vet. Credit: PA

He said Zhestkov was also carrying injections and drugs in his bag. He 'planned to re-administer the drug when they transited in Korea'.

According to The Sun, Zhestkov had also told officials he bought the orangutan for £2,200 ($3,000) from a market on Indonesia's main island of Java, having been told by a friend that he could bring it home as a pet.

Orangutans are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as 'critically endangered'. There are only around 100,000 remaining worldwide.

However, the Russian was yet to be officially charged as police were still investigating whether or not the incident had links to wider international syndicates involved in wildlife trafficking.

The orangutan has now been handed over to the Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) to receive treatment and care.

Featured Image Credit: Bali Natural Resources Conservation Agency

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013