Orangutans are protected in Indonesia. Photo: iStock

A Russian man is facing five years of imprisonment after he was charged with smuggling a baby orangutan from Bali to Russia.

Andrei Zhestov was caught trying to smuggle a two-year-old baby orangutan on March 22 at Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, The Jakarta Post reported. In addition, two geckos and four chameleons were also found in his possession when he was arrested. All the animals were reportedly drugged and were inside a suitcase.

Aviation security officers who made the discovery informed police, the Quarantine Office and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency. Local police chief Ruddi Setiawan said the orangutan was taken to Bali from Java, but its original source was not disclosed.

It was also unclear whether the animal was being smuggled for himself or for another party.

Orangutans are protected in the Indonesian legal system. Zhestov could face the maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment or a fine of 100 million rupiahs if found guilty.

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