Monday, 5 August 2019

Give endangered jaguars legal rights, Argentina campaigners ask court

With fewer than 20 left in the South American country’s Gran Chaco forest – the big cats could be classed as a ‘non-human person’
Uki Goñi in Buenos Aires
Fri 19 Jul 2019 19.28 BSTLast modified on Mon 22 Jul 2019 10.59 BST
Argentina’s supreme court has been asked to recognize the legal rights of the South American jaguar, of which fewer than 20 individuals remain alive in the country’s Gran Chaco region.
The largest cat in the Americas once roamed the continent as far north as the Grand Canyon, but is now in decline across the entire western hemisphere.
In Argentina, the speckled feline has been driven to the brink of extinction by the destruction of habitat to make way for soy plantations and cattle ranches.
Argentina’s National Parks Administration estimates that fewer than 250 are left alive in the country, and only 20 in the Gran Chaco region, a forest that has lost some 12m hectares (an area larger than Denmark) in the last 35 years.

On Friday, lawyers representing Greenpeace Argentina 
argued in the supreme court that the country should recognize the rights of the entire species.
“If the legal rights of inanimate corporations are recognized, why not the legal rights of a species of nature, which is very much alive,” said the group’s lawyer Enrique Viale.

A strong legal precedent was set in Argentina in 2016 when Argentina’s courts recognized a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan held at the Buenos Aires zoo, named Sandra, as a “non-human person”.

Greenpeace Argentina is now seeking a similar status for the remaining jaguars in the Gran Chaco. “We now want recognition of the rights of the entire species,” Viale told the Guardian.

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