Judge Rules IKEA Monkey Must Remain at Sanctuary


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A judge has ruled that the monkey who appeared mysteriously inside the doors of an IKEA store last December will remain in an animal sanctuary north of Toronto instead of going back to his "mom."

The Japanese snow macaque turned up at an IKEA store on a cold day in December 2012. The monkey, named Darwin, was dressed in a faux shearling coat and diaper. Prior to going inside the store, Darwin had been running frantically about the parking lot, according to onlookers.

Bronwyn Iler Page gained internet notoriety after being first to tweet about seeing the monkey at IKEA: "Um, saw a monkey in the #IKEA parking lot." The tweet was accompanied by a photo of the tiny money with shopping carts in the background. Nine months later, her twitter bio still boasts "I saw the monkey #IKEAmonkey."

How did a Japanese snow macaque end up inside an IKEA store? Darwin apparently escaped from his owner, real estate attorney Yasmin Nakhuda. Despite Nakhuda's claims that the monkey was a gift, Judge Mary Vallee ruled that Nakhuda had purchased Darwin from an exotic animal dealer for $5,000 with the knowledge that doing so was illegal. Toronto city bylaw prohibits the ownership of exotic pets.

The judge's decision on Friday means that Darwin will remain at the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary where attorney Kevin Toyne says he is adjusting well and learning to behave like a young adult macaque rather than a human child.

Besides getting a new home, Darwin got a Twitter account. The account has over 6,500 followers and has mostly been used to update the public on how they can support Darwin and the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary.

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