Honolulu Judge Dismisses Nonhuman Rights Project's Case for Elephant Liberty

Hawaii First Circuit Court Judge Gary W.B. Chang granted the Honolulu Zoo's motion to dismiss the Nonhuman Rights Project's (NhRP) case on behalf of elephants Mari and Vaigai. The NhRP sought a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the two elephants, demanding the elephants’ right to liberty and release to a sanctuary. Judge Chang ruled that the writ of habeas corpus is limited to humans and dismissed the case "without prejudice," leaving room for reconsideration if another legal remedy is identified. The NhRP plans to appeal the decision, arguing that existing animal welfare laws fail to adequately protect nonhuman animals like Mari and Vaigai, and advocating for an extension of habeas corpus protections to address their unjust captivity.