Case of Orangutan Sandra's Rights Heard at Argentine Court

Arguments on the fate of an orangutan named Sandra from an Argentine zoo will be settled within the month by a court hearing to decide whether Sandra should continue to be kept captive or released into the wild or semi-freedom at an animal sanctuary.

Another court in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires ruled last December that Sandra, a 29-year-old female at the Buenos Aires zoo, was entitled to some basic rights as humans, making Sandra the world's first orangutan to have part of the human rights.

"I think she should be freed, because she does not seem living well. Her eyes are full of depression. I think measures should be taken. This is not fair for her," said Karina, a zoo visitor.

"I think the verdict was very correct, because she is not living in its own habitat. She looks depressed and lonely. I just heard some tourists said 'Look, she seems very sad!' She is not the lovely orangutan that can attract tourists," said Cecilia, another zoo visitor.

Sandra was brought to Argentina from Germany in 1994 and has since been living in the Buenos Aires zoo.

Last November an animal rights organization, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA), filed a habeas corpus petition on behalf of Sandra, arguing the ape had sufficient cognitive function and deserved the basic rights of a "non-human person" not to be "imprisoned" in the zoo.
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