Cougar granted “complete freedom” by court after being held captive at home in Argentina

Animal rights organizations around the world are celebrating a court ruling in Argentina that has granted a formerly captive cougar rights as a “sentient being.”

Lola Limon, a six-month-old cougar found tied in front of a house in 2019, was initially seized by Buenos Aires police. It is illegal to owner cougars in that country.

And so began a long-running court journey as the public prosecutor fought to see Lola Limon treated as a “sentient being” and the “subject of rights.”

The Specialized Prosecutor’s Unit in Environmental Affairs of the Office of the Attorney General of Buenos Aires filed a petition asking an Argentine criminal court to grant the cougar “complete freedom, free of any measure or legal restriction.”

The prosecutor also asked that custody of Lola Limon be granted to the Interactive Ecopark, a wildlife reserve in Buenos Aires.

The now 3-year-old animal was found by the court in the summer to be in “sufficient physical condition to undergo the first step of treatment,” including a chance to one day return to the wild.

“We hope that this ruling sets a precedent for similar court cases and legislation in other countries,” Animal Defenders International said in a statement.

Judge Carla Cavaliere acknowledged the 1977 Universal Declaration of Animal Rights, which states, “All animals are born with an equal claim on life and the same rights to existence” and the stipulation that all animals are entitled to the right to respect, attention, care, and protection from humankind.

Lola Limon, the judge ruled, is has a right to freedom even though non-human animals are still considered “moveable goods” in Argentina.

Nonhuman Rights Project, In Defense of Animals and others applauded the decision.

“The decision in Lola Limon’s case is another welcome sign of progress in the global fight for nonhuman animal rights, especially regarding judges’ increasing willingness to update nonhuman animals’ legal status based on what we know of their capacities and what they need to survive and thrive,” the Nonhuman Rights Project said in a recent statement.


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