New York's highest court ruled that an elephant at the Bronx Zoo is not a "person" and that the civil rights group fighting for her release to a sanctuary is not entitled to do so on her behalf.

The Nonhuman Rights Project had argued that the elephant, named Happy, was being illegally confined at the zoo and sought to have her moved to an elephant sanctuary.

The court dispute centred on whether the legal principle of habeas corpus - which guards against illegal detention - should be extended to emotionally complex and intelligent animals.

The court ultimately ruled that elephants, while being "impressive", are not entitled to the same liberty rights as humans.