The River and the Monkey

The Whanganui river in New Zealand has been granted legal personhood status in 2012. This river has two guardians, one representing the state, the other a representative of the Maori people. Another example: a white oak tree in Georgia, USA, widely known as the Tree That Owns Itself due to the fact that it enjoys legal ownership over itself and all land within 2,4 m of its base. Or take Sandra, an 29 year-old orangutan, who was declared by one Argentinian court to be a non-human person who was unjustly held in captivity, a verdict which could potentially prove to be a milestone in the debate on the rights of primates and other intelligent animal species.