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Major Zoo to Close After 140 Years, Release 2,500 Animals

Buenos Aires mayor announced the groundbreaking move after calling animal captivity “degrading.”

Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of Argentinian capital city of Buenos Aires, recently announced that the Buenos Aires Zoo will be shut down after more than 140 years. “This situation of captivity is degrading for the animals, it’s not the way to take care of them,” Rodíguez said. Most of the 2,500 animal inhabitants of the 44-acre zoo will be moved to nature reserves throughout Argentina. The zoo will be renovated and turned into an ecological park by the year’s end, which will function to both rehabilitate animals rescued from illegal trafficking and to house zoo animals too old to travel—who will not be exhibited to the public after the zoo’s official closure—including a 30-year-old orangutan named Sandra who made headlines after Argentinian court legally recognized her as a non-human person, not property. The nation of Costa Rica made similar a move in 2013, closing both the country's public zoos and releasing animals to the wild and to sanctuaries.

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