Bali’s drugged, smuggled orangutan headed back to the wild

Baby orangutan Bon Bon is being prepared to move to a conservation center in Sumatra. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Bali’s drugged, smuggled orangutan headed back to the wild

  • The case made headlines in March when suspicious authorities stopped Russian trafficker Andrei Zhestkov
  • Zhestkov was later sentenced to a year in prison in July

BALI, Indonesia: A baby orangutan that was drugged by a Russian trafficker in a failed bid to smuggle it out of Bali will be released back into the wild.
The case made headlines in March when suspicious authorities on the Indonesian holiday island stopped Andrei Zhestkov, who was flying back to Russia, and opened his luggage to find a two-year-old orangutan sleeping inside a rattan basket.
Zhestkov, sentenced to a year in prison in July, had packed baby formula and blankets for the orangutan. He was also carrying two live geckos and five lizards inside the suitcase.
On Monday, conservation authorities in Bali rolled out a big fruit plate for fuzzy-haired Bon Bon as he prepares to move to a conservation center in Sumatra — one of just two places where the critically endangered species is found in the wild.
Bon Bon’s caretaker, Ketut Diandika, confessed to being a little bit sad at the ape’s departure.
“I actually want Bon Bon to stay here so that I can still take care of him,” he said.
The Southeast Asian archipelago’s rainforests boast some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and it is a key source and transit point for animal trafficking.
In a separate case at the weekend, officials in Sumatra’s Riau province said they arrested two men, allegedly part of an international trafficking ring, who were attempting to smuggle four lion cubs and a baby leopard from Africa, along with dozens of tortoises.


Pakistan  hardens position over disputed Kashmir with new map

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks at a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, February 4, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 54 min 29 sec ago

Pakistan  hardens position over disputed Kashmir with new map

  • The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity since the partition of British-ruled India into Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India in 1947

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday approved a new map that showed areas in the Himalayan Kashmir valley to be a part of Pakistan, a move likely to anger neighbor India which also lays claim to the territory.
An image of the new map was shared with Pakistani media by Khan’s office. India has not commented on the development so far. The map signals a hardening of Pakistan’s position over the border row.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been at the heart of more than 70 years of animosity since the partition of British-ruled India into Muslim Pakistan and majority Hindu India in 1947.
Tensions reached a new high in August last year, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took away Indian-administered Kashmir’s special privileges, provoking anger in the region and in Pakistan.
It also took away the region’s status as a state by creating two federally controlled territories, splitting off the thinly populated, Buddhist-dominated region of Ladakh. Jammu & Kashmir had been the only Muslim-majority state in India.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the region.
India has battled insurgency in the portion of Kashmir it controls for decades and blames Pakistan for fueling the strife, but Pakistan denies it is responsible, saying it only gives moral support to non-violent separatists.
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly-Muslim Kashmir.
Another resolution also calls upon both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.”