May 24, 2019 / 9:52 AM / 4 months ago

Indonesia nabs Russian trying to smuggle baby otters, scorpions

An official of Indonesian Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) gives treatment to a critically endangered Eurasian otter, after being confiscated from being smuggled out of the country, in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, May 24, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Nyoman Budhiana/ via REUTERS

DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities have arrested a Russian on the holiday island of Bali after he was found trying to smuggle baby otters and scorpions out of the country.

The unidentified Russian was found carrying four critically endangered Eurasian otters and 10 scorpions in a box stocked with food and milk on Thursday, conservationists said.

“The security in Ngurah Rai International airport detected living objects inside the trunk of a Russian passenger during an X-ray scan. When they checked they found four otters and 10 scorpions,” said Budhy Kurniawan of the Bali natural resources conservation agency.

Populations of the Eurasian otter, a fish-eating mammal, are declining in Asia and it is a protected species in Indonesia.

Illegal wildlife trade is rampant in Indonesia, despite efforts by authorities to crack down on smugglers.

In March, authorities arrested a Russian at the same airport with a drugged a baby orangutan in his suitcase. He was attempting to smuggle it to Russia.

Reporting by Sultan Anshori; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Robert Birsel

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