An orangutan named Sandra that has been living in a Buenos Aires zoo for over 20 years has been granted some human rights by an Argentine court. In an unprecedented ruling of the kind, Sandra, who was born in Germany, but lived her entire life in the South American country was seen to be entitled to certain legal rights, thanks to the campaign of local animal rights activists.
Animal rights activists had filed a habeas corpus in favour of Sandra, had argued that she was being illegally detained and must be granted legal rights although she is not human. The entire case was centred on whether Sandra, the orang-utan was a "thing" or a "human", reported BBC.
The Lawyers for Argentina's Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) claimed that while Sandra may not a "a person" in the biological sense, she was one in the philosophical sense. Considering the illegal deprivation of freedom inflicted upon her, they argued that she was a "non-human person".
Afada lawyer and the orangutan's attorney Paul Buompadre called the verdict a ticket to greater freedom: "This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories."
Sandra, who was born in 1986 in a German zoo, was brought to Buenos Aires by air in September 1994 and prefers to stay away from the crowds.
If the Buenos Aires zoo does not appeal against the court decision, Sandra would be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil where she can live in partial liberty.