MIAMI — An orangutan smuggler was sentenced Friday to 13 months in prison in a KGB-linked case that aroused the indignation of conservationists around the world.
In a last-minute twist, prosecutors refused to recommend a lighter sentence for Matthew Block, 31, questioning whether he had fully cooperated with the government as required by his plea bargain.
Britain's Prince Philip and chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall are among more than 1,000 people who have written the judge demanding tough treatment for Block.
U.S. District Judge James Kehoe also fined Block $30,000 on a felony count of conspiracy to violate the U.S. Endangered Species Act and an international treaty barring the trade of protected animals.
Experts believe fewer than 32,000 of the gentle, red-haired apes exist in the wilds of Borneo and Sumatra, and the estimates of the number of the endangered primates keep shrinking.