Nov. 19 (UPI) — An animal rights group is wading additional right into a court docket battle on Thursday, hoping to steer a three-judge panel to rescue a 47-year-old Asian elephant by shifting it from a New York Metropolis zoo to a sanctuary in Tennessee.
The landmark case, filed by the Nonhuman Rights Challenge (NhRP), argues that the elephant — named “Blissful” — has endured a few years of injustice and solitary confinement on the Bronx Zoo and ought to be relocated.
The group, which advocates basic rights for nonhuman animals, says Blissful is a authorized “individual” with a primary proper to liberty. It’s asking the New York State Appellate Division of the Supreme Court docket to ship the animal to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn.
“[The court] can and may now put an finish to the injustice of Blissful’s decades-long imprisonment on the Bronx Zoo and grant her freedom,” the NhRP mentioned.
Thursday’s listening to begins at 2 p.m. EST.
The group likens Blissful’s residing state of affairs to “solitary confinement,” because the Bronx Zoo has housed just one different elephant since 2018 — and the 2 are saved separate because of issues that they don’t get alongside.
The end result, the group says, are lengthy hours of loneliness on daily basis for Blissful, who’s lived alone on the zoo for the previous 14 years. Scientists say elephants are uniquely social animals and profit from interplay with different elephants.
The NhRP is asking the court docket for quick assist, and argues that Blissful will quickly be moved to the zoo’s “elephant barn” — a cement construction with windowless, barred cages — and keep there till Might when the exhibit closes this month for the winter.
“Merely put, the Bronx Zoo’s exhibit is simply too small to satisfy the wants of Blissful or any elephant,” elephant skilled Dr. Joyce Poole wrote in behalf of the NhRP.
“Blissful deserves to stay the remainder of her life at [the sanctuary] the place the utmost care will likely be given to her particular person wants and he or she’ll have the area and circumstances wanted to heal and to type psychologically needed bonds with different elephants.”
The Bronx Zoo has opposed Blissful’s launch to a sanctuary and denies that she is held in isolation or saved indoors for half the 12 months. It says all animals in its care are properly cared for.
“The Bronx Zoo takes wonderful care of Blissful and can proceed to take action, together with all animals right here on the zoo,” it mentioned in a press release earlier this 12 months. “Her well-being is assured by our devoted workers and all of the experience they carry in offering wonderful look after her for greater than 40 years.
“From the start, the data perpetuated by NhRP about Blissful has been inaccurate, deceptive or just false.”
In accordance with a profile on the NhRP web site, Blissful has lived on the Bronx Zoo since 1977. In 2005, she grew to become the primary elephant to “cross” the mirror self-recognition take a look at, which is taken into account an indicator of self-awareness.
In 2018, she additionally grew to become the primary elephant to have a habeas corpus listening to, as her case was heard by the Orleans Supreme Court docket.
In February, a petition looking for to declare Blissful a authorized “individual” was dismissed and a choose dominated that she isn’t being unlawfully imprisoned on the zoo. The NhRP obtained an injunction towards the zoo final month to stop them from shifting Blissful some place else earlier than the case made it to court docket.