JAKARTA - Indonesian police probing the murder of a young woman at a luxury villa stumbled upon a secret collection of exotic animals, including a cross-breed of a lion and tiger, officials said Wednesday.
Officers made the discovery as they investigated the death of a 23-year-old woman, who had allegedly had her throat slit by a maintenance worker at the property south of the capital Jakarta after she refused his sexual advances.
"When police officers arrived at the scene for the body and to arrest the suspect, they discovered a mini zoo," said Didik Purwanto, chief detective of Bogor district, where the villa is located.
Among the animals discovered was a tiger, several species of monkey, Javan peacocks, four Timorese deer, geese and dogs, he said.
But the most unusual find was the "liger", a hybrid cross between a male lion and tigress, which typically has the facial features of a lion and faint stripes like those of a tiger.
Forestry ministry official Dedi Sunardi, who oversees the agency that seized the animals, said authorities were mulling what to do with the liger.
"The liger is a product of human intervention and as far as we know, there are no others in Indonesia, so releasing it into the wild could be problematic," Sunardi said, adding the other animals would likely be released.
Officials did not say how many animals were seized, but local media reported there were more than a dozen.
Keeping such animals without a permit is illegal in Indonesia, home to an array of rare species, and permits are usually only given to official zoos and conservation parks, said Purwanto.
"We don't yet know who the owner of the villa is, but it's unlikely there would be a permit in this situation," he said.
Purwanto added police were currently searching for the owner, who was not at home at the time of the raid.
The discovery was made on Thursday last week. The murder victim had been staying as a guest at the villa when she befriended the maintenance worker, Purwanto said.
It came the same day a military tribunal jailed two soldiers for up to three months for illegally possessing two stuffed Sumatran tigers and a stuffed bear on the island of Sumatra.