Russian Passenger Caught Trying to Smuggle an Orangutan Onto Airplane

A Russian man was caught trying to bring an orangutan onto an airplane.


Image via Getty/Barcroft Media


A Russian man was caught trying to smuggle an orangutan on an airplane, the New York Post reports.

Andrei Zhestkov hid the sleeping orangutan in his suitcase, according to officials at Bali Airport in Indonesia. In addition to the ape, he also tried to smuggle two live geckos and five other lizards. Airport officials said that the man told them he wanted to keep the 2-year-old orangutan as a pet.

Conservation official Ketut Catur Marbawa said the 27-year-old man was “prepared” to keep the primate “like he was transporting a baby,” per the Post. He had baby food and allergy pills on hand, which he gave to the orangutan to help it fall asleep.

Zhestkov was planning to take the ape back to Russia and alleged that the protected wild animal was gifted to him by a friend who purchased it for its street market value of $3,000 in Java, Indonesia. However, because orangutans are an endangered species, Zhestkov faces a jail sentence of up to five years and a $7,000 fine.

In other absurd animal-related news, a pair of scientists have been experimenting on alligators by giving them ketamine and headphones to learn about dinosaur hearing. According to the scientists, this study was designed to help navigate alligators’ “neural maps” to learn how these animals (whose ears are located behind their eyes) identify different sounds. They ended up not only learning more about the animals' prehistoric predecessors, but they also found another connection between reptiles and birds.

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