Argentinian Zoo Orangutan Granted 'Non-Human Personhood' Relocated to New Sanctuary Home

The famous orangutan was granted basic rights, such as life, freedom and a premise of "no harm" in an unprecedented ruling in 2015

Sandra the orangutan

Sandra the orangutan has found a new home!

The 33-year-old orangutan who was granted “non-human personhood” in a landmark case by an Argentine judge in 2015 has officially moved to her new home in Wauchula, Florida, CNN reported.

On Tuesday, she was relocated to the Center for Great Apes, which is a “permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or from the exotic pet trade,” per the center’s website.

“She was shy when she first arrived, but once she saw the swings, toys, and grassy areas in her new home, she went out to explore,” Patti Ragan, director of the sanctuary said in a press release. Ragan added that Sandra has been “inquisitive, calm, engaged and interested in her new surroundings” ever since she arrived.

Sandra the orangutan
Sandra the orangutan

The orangutan joined 53 other primates at the center, including 22 orangutans and 31 chimpanzees, according to CNN.

Sandra, who had lived in captivity for 20 years at the Buenos Aires Zoo, garnered international attention when a judge declared she was a “non-human being,” granting her basic rights, such as life, freedom and a premise of “no harm” either physically or psychologically.

It was an unprecedented decision that highlighted the damaging effects captivity can have on great apes, who share 96% of their genetic identity with human beings, per the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Sandra the orangutan
Sandra. Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Shutterstock

Prior to arriving at the Center for Great Apes, Sandra was held at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas during a month-long quarantine.

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“Her fame will help to bring more awareness of how very special and sentient great apes are as well as the terrible threats facing their species in the wild in Borneo and Sumatra,” Ragan told the outlet. “Habitat destruction caused by logging, mining, and palm oil farming is causing the loss of hundreds of orangutans just as smart and lovely as Sandra.”

According to CNN, the Buenos Aires Zoo was closed in 2016 and then converted into the Buenos Aires Eco-Park, which is an interactive park that “aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and the importance of protecting animals’ natural habitats both in Argentina and internationally,” according to the park’s website.

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