Chimp Given Freedom Thanks To Historic Court Case After Being Locked Up In A Zoo All Her Life

20/4/2017

Cecilia is a chimpanzee who spent most of her life trapped in the cramped confines of theMendoza Zoo, in Argentina.

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Source: Great Ape Project

After the death of her two companions, she was left to live alone in the concrete enclosure, where she quickly fell into a deep depression.But thanks to an unusual application of the law, Cecilia has been freed.Three years ago, animal rights advocates withthe Great Ape ProjectandLawyers for Animal Rightstook on the zoo in a precedent setting court case.

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Source: Great Ape Project

They claimed that this was a violation ofhabeas corpus, or the idea that no one may beunlawfully imprisoned. This angle has been attempted in other court cases of similar nature, but for the first time, it actually worked.Judge María Alejandra Mauricio from Argentina declared last November that Cecilia is not an object, but a non-human being who deserves certain rights, and this includes the rights to living in their natural habitat.She ordered that the chimpbe transferred to a sanctuary in Brazil.

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Source: Great Ape Project

Judge Mauricio told the newspaperLos Andes:

We're not talking about the civil rights enshrined in the Civil Code, but instead the species' own rights: to development, to life in their natural habitat.

Last week, Cecilia finally got to experience this freedom for the first time. She was freed from her zoo prison on April 7 and arrived at her new home with the Great Ape Project on April 8.She is surrounded by sprawling fields of grass and lots of activities to occupy her mind.

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Source: Great Ape Project

The chimp has been put in quarantine for the first few weeks, but she will soon rejoin her fellow apes, where she will finally get the company she desperately longs for.According to sanctuary officials, they have already seen an incredible change in her behavior. The Great Ape Project's executive director, Pedro Pozas Terrados, told The Dodo:

Before, she was in a small concrete cage, unable to even see the sky. Now, she is touching the grass. Her appetite has returned; she is doing very well. The change has been from night to day.

Only more good things for the newly freed animal who has the rest of her life in front of her in a peaceful way she never did before.

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Source: Great Ape Project

The Great Apes Project wrote in a statement:

[Cecilia] is the first nonhuman primate who got her freedom thanks to a human legal instrument! We hope this example will be followed in other cases so that many other Great Apes who are being exploited in terrible captivity may also be released.

H/t: The Dodo

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