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Man arrested for kangaroo-smuggling in Indonesia. Wait, what?

December 8, 2009 |  7:33 pm

Kangaroo JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police arrested a man accused of smuggling 10 rare kangaroos by boat from New Guinea island, an official said Saturday.

The Indonesian suspect was caught Friday as he offloaded the exotic marsupials at the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya, said Police Maj. Widarmanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. Five of the kangaroos had died.

The five surviving kangaroos -- of a small, rain forest-dwelling variety -- were given to a Surabaya animal sanctuary, Widarmanto said.

Illegal trade in rare and exotic animals is rampant in Indonesia, where law enforcement is generally poor.

The suspect, who has not been identified, faces up to five years in jail and a 100-million-rupiah ($11,000) fine for violating Indonesian conservation laws.

Kangaroos are native only to Australia and New Guinea, which is divided into Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua and the country of Papua New Guinea.

-- Associated Press

Photo: An officer of the Natural Resources Conservation Center holds up one of 10 kangaroos that were seized after being smuggled into Indonesia.  Credit: Mochammad Risyal Hidayat / AFP/Getty Images

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