— Zaruba Ondrej / Shutterstock.com

If human rights are very important, animal rights are just as important. Of course, this is not easy for everyone, but it is nevertheless the case in Ecuador. In particular, the Ecuadorian authorities have decided to grant individual legal rights to wild animals.

At a time when the world is struggling with climate change and the illegal exploitation of wild animals, Ecuador has made history by becoming the first country to recognize the distinct legal rights of wild animals. Judgment was handed down by the highest court in the land thanks to the tragic story of Estrellita, a woolly monkey who died in sad circumstances. Illegally collected from the wild shortly after birth, Estrellita was raised as a pet by librarian Ana Beatriz Burbano Proaño and her family.

In 2019, custody of the animal was taken away from the librarian, as local authorities argued that keeping wild animals is illegal in the country. Thus, Estrellita was seized and then transferred to a zoo. Unfortunately, his stay at the zoo was short-lived as the monkey died a month after his transfer, the animal appearing to have taken the separation very badly, reported Inside Climate News. Note that before the death of the animal, his family had filed a complaint to recover Estrellita.

Even though the monkey died, the case went to trial. And with supporting scientific evidence – particularly regarding the cognitive and social complexity of the monkeys – the court found that local authorities, but also Ms Burbano, had violated Estrellita’s rights. Local authorities were found guilty of failing to consider the monkey’s specific needs, and Ms Burbano was found guilty of removing it from its natural environment. From there was born the decision to grant individual rights to wild animals.

The domestication and humanization of wild animals are phenomena that have a great impact on the maintenance of ecosystems and the balance of nature, because they cause the progressive decline of animal populations. “, recognized the court in its judgment.