Free Press Journal

Animal rights activists want chimp released from Argentine zoo


Buenos Aires: An animal rights advocacy group has asked the courts in Argentina to order a zoo in the western city of Mendoza to release a female chimpanzee named Cecilia, asserting that the animal is suffering from isolation and “deplorable” conditions.

A spokesperson for the activists told Spanish news agency Efe that the Association of Employees and Advocates for Animal Rights (Afada) filed a habeas corpus petition to have Cecilia taken to a primate sanctuary where she can live with other chimpanzees and receive specialised care.

Cecilia is kept in an “extremely small” cage that gets little sunlight and provides her with no shelter from bad weather or harassment by zoo visitors, according to Afada.

Besides “the total lack of hygiene and safety”, Cecilia, who previously shared a space with two other chimpanzees, is now in “absolute solitude”, resulting in “profound stress” that could put her life in danger.

Late last year, Afada convinced a court to confer the status of “non-human subject” on Sandra, an orangutan “illegally deprived of her freedom” by the Buenos Aires Zoo for 20 years.

Afada is seeking recognition of Cecilia as a non-human person who is entitled to protection of her fundamental rights and cannot “be tortured, or physically or psychologically mistreated”.