An Argentine court shocked the world two years ago when it declared a 32 year old orangutang a “non-human person,” thereby granting her basic human rights.
Two years on she remains in captivity despite being represented by a panel of experts keen to improve her living conditions, with seemingly little hope remaining for the animal’s nominal right to liberty, reports the Associated Press today.
Sandra currently lives in a basketball-sized concrete cage inside the Buenos Aires Zoo, which is in the process of being transformed into an ecopark by the City government.
When she received the historic ruling in her favor, many expected Sandra to be released into the wild. But a panel of three international experts have ruled the suggestion is not advisable, as she was born in captivity.
Genetically, Sandra is a hybrid orangutan — half-Sumatran and half Bornean — and it has been suggested she may not be able to adapt in a sanctuary. The eco-park’s vet says tests have shown Sandra to be in good health but that the other tests necessary to determine whether she could travel would risk causing physical, emotional and mental distress.
For now, the courts have ruled Sandra’s cage should be improved rather than sending her abroad. “We don’t have any options here,” said Judge Elena Liberatori.”‘Sandra has a millstone hung around her neck.”
For now, Sandra continues to be stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of being granted the rights she legally deserves.