Orangutan Granted Legal Status Of Personhood Moved To Florida


An orangutan aged 33-years old and conferred the legal status of personhood by an Argentinian court has left the country and moved to a new residence in central Florida where she is now settling in. A spokesperson for the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula said Sandra the orangutan is a sweet an inquisitive being and has adjusted to her new surroundings.

25 Years In Argentina

Sandra was born in Germany and the first 25 years of her life were spent in Buenos Aires Zoo before moving to Florida at the end of last year. The spokesperson added that Sandra was quite shy upon her arrival, but as soon as she caught sight of the swings, toys and grassy areas in her new enclosure she immediately set out to explore.

Enjoying her new environment

She is now familiar with all her caregivers and has adjusted well to the other apes at the center, as well as both climate and environment. According to the spokesperson, it was the first time in over ten years that Sandra had the opportunity to meet others of her species and she can interact whenever she wishes which is a new freedom for her and one the center is thankful it can provide.

Landmark ruling

In a landmark ruling in 2015, Judge Elena Liberatori’s ruling declared that Sandra did not have the legal status of animal, but instead ruled her legal status was non-human person which means Sandra is entitled to some of the legal rights enjoyed by humans as well as better living conditions. In an interview with the Associated Press, the judge said she wanted to send a new message to society, that animals are sentient and the first right they possess is our obligation to respect them.

Lots of friends

But with no clear alternative Sandra was forced to remain at the antiquated zoo which shut its doors in 2016 until she left for the United States at the end of September last year. She was placed in quarantine at a Kansas zoo for a month before being shifted to Florida. The center is also home to 21 other orangutans and 31 chimpanzees which have either been rescued or retired from circuses and the trade in exotic pets.

Similar case

The case is very similar to one that is currently being held over an elephant in New York. In that case, lawyers are arguing a case that is proceeding through the court system that the elephant, Happy, in contrast to her name is being “illegally” detained by the Bronx Zoo. The lawyers are arguing the elephant is more than an animal and must be given legal status reflecting personhood and therefore has to be released.

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