The Ikea Monkey captured the hearts of the internet this month when little Darwin mischievously snuck out of his carrier and followed his owner into a Toronto Ikea — stumbling upon worldwide fame due to the iconic and adorable image of the teensy primate, clad in a shearling jacket, walking around the home goods store like a tiny, hairy human.
But the Ikea Monkey story didn’t end happily for Yasmin Nakhuda, Darwin’s former owner nor, arguably, for the beast himself. Nakhuda was fined and lost custody of her beloved pet, a circumstance she has been protesting since the monkey was seized earlier this month.
Nakhuda says the Ikea Monkey had bonded with her, and, after Toronto Animal Services seized the macaque and shipped him off to an animal sanctuary in Sunderland, the monkey’s former owner staged a protest outside the agency.
Speaking yesterday, ten days after Darwin’s capture, Nakhuda told reporters:
“Unless you have owned a primate, you can’t really understand my relationship with Darwin … He was not a dog, he was not a cat, he was a little person.”
The Ikea Monkey’s owner continues:
“Japanese macaques, they have 93 per cent human DNA. So, he would act like a little child, and therefore when I call him my son, I’m not mental … I don’t think that’s the situation here.”
Mary Lou Leiher of Toronto Animal Services says Nakhuda surrendered Darwin after the Ikea Monkey incident:
“We received a call from Ikea security that a monkey was walking around in the parking lot at their store and so we did go and we picked the monkey up and we brought it back to one of the shelters … And then subsequently we were contacted by a woman who claimed to be Darwin’s owner and she came to the shelter and surrendered him to the city.”
The distraught Ikea Monkey’s owner plans to press on, but it remains illegal to own a monkey in the jurisdiction. Do you think the Ikea Monkey should be able to return home?