Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Orangutan in Argentina Wins Court Case! Using the news as a Bell Ringer

I remember a few months ago, a black macaque swiped a camera and took a very cute selfie. A court case questioned the owner of the photograph. Was it the macaque's or the photographer that owned the camera. It was determined that being non-human, the monkey had no rights to "ownership". What do you think of this new court ruling? Should primates have any rights?

 Perhaps, you may find this news story of interest to use in your classroom:

What makes a court in Argentina determining that Sandra has rights newsworthy is that Sandra is... an orangutan.
Until this ruling, animals were declared things. The historic court decision states that  twenty-eight year old Sandra is a non-human person and thus, has basic rights. In this case, Sandra has been living  at the Buenos Aries' Zoo for twenty years. The Argentina's Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights said in their petition, that Sandra has been denied her basic rights to freedom. If the court ruling stands and is not appealed, Sandra's right to freedom will mean, she will be moving to a sanctuary to spend the rest of her days.
It is thought that such a non-human person ruling would only apply to primates as they have much of the genetic codes with humans.

1. Should animals have rights?
2. If you were the judge, how would you have ruled?
3. What other rights might primates have?
4. Pretend you are representing the Buenos Aries' Zoo. Why should a primate such as an orangutan be considered a thing and not a non-human person.

Learn about orangutans:
The word orangutan means "man of the forest".
Orangutans are native to the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo .
Did you know an orangutan can have an arm span of almost 8 feet?
The orangutan does not have a tail.
Orangutans are both meat and plant eaters. They are called omnivores.
Orangutans are APES not monkeys.
No larger animal lives in trees. Some can nest about 100 ft. up in a tree!
Orangutans given Ipads seem to enjoy using them.
Orangutan have the same number of teeth as humans...32.
Orangutan have opposible thumbs.(They can touch their other fingers with their thumbs)
Very intelligent, orangutans will use sticks to catch insects and to determine the depth of water. They also make "sponges" from chewed up leaves.

Extension Activities:
Draw/ color a picture of an orangutan. Write 3 facts learned about orangutans.
Pretend you are Sandra and tell about a day in your life at the Buenos Aries' Zoo.
Do an interview with one student being the reporter and the other student being the lawyer arguing Sandra's cause to be classified as a non-human person and not a thing.
Check the status of orangutans in the United States, England, Canada and Australia.

Photograph of Sandra from

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