Animal rights group demands judge free elephant from Bronx Zoo

December 14, 2018 - 7:27 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – The Nonhuman Rights Project has taken on a very big client – an elephant it says is being detained against her rights.

The organization’s president, Steven Wise, told 1010 WINS that the Bronx Zoo is illegally imprisoning an Asian elephant named Happy and that she has the right to habeas corpus.

“Keeping an elephant on about a one-acre plot of land in a zoo in New York is an illegal detention,” Wise said. “She is entitled to be released from her imprisonment at the Bronx Zoo”

Wise is calling on the zoo to release the elephant and send her to an elephant sanctuary.

He says Happy is entitled to the same legal rights as humans because she’s a cognitively complex being “to the point of being an autonomous being who can choose how to live her life.”

The Nonhuman Rights Project is asking a judge to grant a writ of habeas corpus to Happy.

Happy has been living alone at the zoo since her mate was fatally injured.

Happy was paired with another elephant named Grumpy for 25 years. Grumpy died in 2002 after he was injured during a confrontation with two other elephants. She was then paired with Sammy, who died in 2006.

Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny has said the lawsuit is based on “ludicrous legal arguments and lies.”

Zoo officials say Happy is content, not isolated and might suffer from a transfer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.