New York’s highest court allows case of Happy the elephant

Happy at the Bronx zoo, animal news
Happy at the Bronx zoo, photo: Gigi Glendinning

New York’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, has agreed to hear the case of the lonely elephant Happy at the Bronx zoo.

The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) represents Happy, who has lived at the zoo for four decades and says the animal is a “cognitively complex non-human animal” who should be freed and transferred to an elephant sanctuary.

Happy is a 50-year-old Asian elephant from probably Thailand, according to The Atlantic. She was captured as a baby and sent to the United States.

Instead of being with her mom, she spent the first five years of her life at a safari park in Florida. She was then moved to the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

In 2006, her friend at the zoo died, and she’s been alone ever since. The NhRP is fighting for Happy’s right to be a free elephant living at a sanctuary with companion elephants.

The NhRP says that Happy is unlawfully detained by the Bronx Zoo and has asked the court to grant a writ of habeas corpus to determine if Happy’s imprisonment is lawful. That wish has now been granted.

“The Court granting our appeal is a historic moment for non-human animal rights in the world,” said NhRP Founder and President Steven Wise in a statement on Thursday. 

“Humans are not the only animals entitled to recognition and protection of their fundamental rights,” NhRp says on their website.

“The Nonhuman Rights Project has worked tens of thousands of hours over 25 years to reach this extraordinary milestone, and we look forward to being able to make our compelling arguments to a state high court for the first time,” Wise said.

The Animal Reader is an animal news website. Become a Friend of The Animal Reader and support animal journalism. 

Previous articleThe starving grey whale Wally is lost in the Mediterranean Sea
Next articleAround 170 endangered Caspian seals found dead on Russia’s coast