Orangutan Imprisoned At Inhumane Zoo For 25 Years Now Lives In Sanctuary With Friends

Meet Sandra, an Orangutan who has spent 25 years in a tiny prison cell-like enclosure in a zoo in Argentina, isolated from any other Orangutans.

Sandra was born in captivity, and has lived at the zoo in Buenos Aires Zoo for 20 years when the zoo officially closed it's doors in 2016. The park officials announced the animals within the zoo would be set free but the experts struggled with the decision on what to do with Sandra. 

According to a court ruling in 2014, Sandra was considered a 'non-human person,' who was entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by humans. However, the judge who fought to free Sandra in 2014 took the side of the zoo caretakers and thought the best course of action to take with Sandra would be just to improve conditions within her cage, rather than send her to a reserve aboard. 

Many officials feared that moving her would all result in negative aspects, fearing she would not survive. 

Today, she has been granted 'personhood' and is officially settling into her new life in Wauchula, Florida, along with 21 other rescued orangutans and chimpanzees!

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    Sandra in her concrete cell in Buenos Aires.

    Tree - Associated Press Photo

    "A lawyer in Argentina filed a writ of habeas corpus, used as a legal means to review cases of unfair imprisonment, on behalf of Sandra, a 28-year-old orangutan who was so shy and traumatized in her captivity she would hide in a corner when when visitors arrived at the zoo to stare at her through the glass."

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    You can feel the cold and sadness radiating off these pics of Sandra in her lonely cell

    Human - Associated Press Photo

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    Vertebrate - AP

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    Sandra is now living at one of the most respected Great Ape sanctuaries in the world: The Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida.

    Orangutan - KEITH ONSTEIN AP

    Patti Ragan, the director of the Center and said Sandra is "very sweet and inquisitive" and adjusting to her new home.

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    Ragan also added that Sandra has been, "inquisitive, calm, engaged and interested in her new surroundings. 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."


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    “She has met her caregivers here and is adjusting well to the new climate, environment and the other great apes at the center."

    Orangutan - KEITHVONSTEIN AP

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    “This is the first time in over a decade that Sandra has had the opportunity to meet other orangutans, and she will meet them when she chooses. It is a new freedom for her, and one we are grateful to provide.”


    Sandra the Orangutan now has the protected legal rights of a person and is happy in her new home! 

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