Cecilia enters history as the first great ape to have the right to live in a sanctuary by means of a human legal instrument
17/04/04: The date will enter the world history of the struggle for freedom and the rights of non-human animals. The chimpanzee Cecília, who lived in the zoo in Mendoza, Argentina, arrives tomorrow in her new home, the Great Apes Sanctuary of Sorocaba, in São Paulo, affiliated to the GAP Project. She is the first chimpanzee in the world who is really enjoying the right to live in a sanctuary, granted through a Habeas Corpus, which, until now, was considered an exclusively human legal instrument.
The Habeas Corpus petition was made by the Argentine NGO AFADA - Associacion de Funcionarios y Abocados pelos Derechos de los Animales to a Court in the country, with arguments that the chimpanzee is a subject of law, not an object, and that she was living in very bad capitivity conditions at the zoo. The lawsuit went on for more than a year in the Argentine courts until Judge Maria Alejandra Maurício, from Mendoza, granted the request and ordered the transfer of Cecilia to the Brazilian sanctuary.
Other attempts to free great apes from inadequate captives in Brazil, in the United States and in Europe through a Habeas Corpus have been and are being done, but have so far been unsuccessful and for various reasons, transfers to sanctuaries did not happen.