Sandra, orangutan granted ‘personhood’, turns 34

Argentinean judge Elena Liberatori in a landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person. (The Center for Great Apes via AP)
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Updated 16 February 2020

Sandra, orangutan granted ‘personhood’, turns 34

  • Prior to coming to Florida, Sandra had lived alone in a Buenos Aires zoo
  • Judge Elena Liberatori’s landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person

WAUCHULA, Florida: A orangutan named Sandra, who was granted legal personhood by a judge in Argentina and later found a new home in Florida, celebrated her 34th birthday on Valentine’s Day with a special new primate friend.
Patti Ragan, director of the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida, says Sandra “has adjusted beautifully to her life at the sanctuary” and has befriended Jethro, a 31-year-old male orangutan.
Prior to coming to Florida, Sandra had lived alone in a Buenos Aires zoo. Sandra was a bit shy when she arrived at the Florida center, which is home to 22 orangutans.
“Sandra appeared most interested in Jethro, and our caregivers felt he was a perfect choice because of his close age, calm demeanor, and gentle nature,” Ragan said in a news release. “Sandra still observes and follows Jethro from a distance while they are in the process of getting to know and trust each other. But they are living harmoniously in the same habitat spaces as they continue to gain confidence in their relationship.”
Judge Elena Liberatori’s landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person, and thus entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by people, and better living conditions.
“With that ruling I wanted to tell society something new, that animals are sentient beings and that the first right they have is our obligation to respect them,” she told The Associated Press.
But without a clear alternative, Sandra remained at the antiquated zoo, which closed in 2016, until leaving for the US in late September. She was in quarantine for a month at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas before arriving in Florida.
On Friday, Sandra celebrated her birthday, complete with pink signs and wrapped packages. Jethro, who was once in the entertainment business, attended the party.


Israeli jeweler makes $1.5m gold coronavirus mask

Updated 11 August 2020

Israeli jeweler makes $1.5m gold coronavirus mask

  • The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds
  • The Israeli company says it will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask

MOTZA: An Israeli jewelry company is working on what it says will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask, a gold, diamond-encrusted face covering with a price tag of $1.5 million.

The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds and fitted with top-rated N99 filters at the request of the buyer, said designer Isaac Levy.

Levy, owner of the Yvel company, said the buyer had two other demands: that it be completed by the end of the year, and that it would be the priciest in the world. That last condition, he said, “was the easiest to fulfill.”

He declined to identify the buyer, but said he was a Chinese businessman living in the United States.

The glitzed-up face mask may lend some pizzazz to the protective gear now mandatory in public spaces in many countries. But at 270 grams (over half a pound) — nearly 100 times that of a typical surgical mask — it is not likely to be a practical accessory to wear.

n an interview at his factory near Jerusalem, Levy showed off several pieces of the mask, covered in diamonds. One gold plate had a hole for the filter.

“Money maybe doesn’t buy everything, but if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask and the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that,” Levy said.

Such an ostentatious mask might also rub some the wrong way at a time when millions of people around the world are out of work or suffering economically. Levy said that while he would not wear it himself, he was thankful for the opportunity.

“I am happy that this mask gave us enough work for our employees to be able to provide their jobs in very challenging times like these times right now,” he said.