Orangutan granted 'personhood' settles into new Florida home

A 33-year-old orangutan granted legal personhood by a judge in Argentina is settling into her new surroundings at Florida's Center for Great Apes

WAUCHULA, Fla. -- A 33-year-old orangutan granted legal personhood by a judge in Argentina is settling into her new surroundings at the Center for Great Apes in central Florida.

Patti Ragan, director of the center in Wauchula, Florida, says Sandra is "very sweet and inquisitive" and adjusting to her new home. She was born in Germany and spent 25 years at the Buenos Aires Zoo before arriving in Florida on Nov. 5.

Judge Elena Liberatori's landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person, thus entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by people, and better living conditions.

But without a clear alternative, Sandra remained at the antiquated zoo, which closed in 2016, until leaving for the U.S. in late September. She was in quarantine for a month at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas before arriving in Florida.

At the center, Sandra joins 21 orangutans and 31 chimpanzees rescued or retired from circuses, stage shows and the exotic pet trade.