This river is legally a “person”
BBC Earth Podcast · 30 minutes ·

This river is legally a “person”

In this episode of the BBC Earth Podcast, we’re getting glimpses into brave new worlds, advancing into unfamiliar territories and breaking new ground. We’re pushing at the frontiers between us and the natural world.

In New Zealand there is a river so integral to the history of the Maori people, it has just been granted "personhood". It has been a fight fought for 140 years but finally, this giver of life and symbol of rich history has the same legal rights as the human beings that love it so much. This week we reveal stories of discovery from tiny tales of moss to the unexplored and vast ocean floor. We listen to James, a rhino keeper who talks about the plight of a species which is "functionally extinct": the Northern White Rhino. There are only two left in the world but conservation scientists have hope; using Southern White Rhinos as surrogates, the scientists are taking on a pioneering mission to bring the species to term.

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