Matthew Hiasl Pan, a 26-year-old chimp, is not legally a person, the Austrian Supreme Court has ruled. The animal shelter where he lives has declared bankruptcy, and human donors have volunteered to support him. But under Austrian law, only people can receive personal gifts, reports the AP, so the court rejected an animal rights group's petition to change Matthew's legal status.
Matthew and another chimp, Rosi, were captured in Sierra Leone and smuggled into Austria to be used in lab tests, but customs officials intervened before the sale was made. A foundation could be set up to provide for Matthew, but advocates say only personhood can protect him from being sold. The group that filed the petition now plans to appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights.