The well-dressed 'IKEA Monkey', seen ambling around the Toronto IKEA parking lot earlier in December, won't be spending Christmas with his family. Despite his owner's best efforts, he will remain behind bars.
Darwin the 7-month-old Japanese macaque was made famous by photos of him strolling around the Toronto IKEA parking lot, wearing a faux-sheepskin coat.
While everyone thought him the height of fashion, a judge has now ruled that Darwin must remain in an animal sanctuary.
According to Toronto law, monkeys cannot be kept as pets and once the animal control officers captured the monkey, he was transferred to the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, 100 kilometers northeast of Toronto.
The beloved pet's owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, who is a real estate lawyer, went to court trying to regain custody of Darwin. However, she was disappointed to learn that the monkey will not be released for the holidays, and will have to remain in the sanctuary until at least next month.
“How would you feel to see your child in a cage and be with him outside the cage?” said Nakhuda’s husband, Sam, outside the court.
He told reporters that visiting the sanctuary would be “damaging to Darwin. I don’t know if human beings are capable of understanding this. I don’t know if the judge is capable of understanding this,” he said. “Darwin is not a dog, he’s not a cat, he’s not lizard. He’s 93 per cent human DNA.”
In the video above Nakhuda refers to Darwin as her son, and not simply a monkey and tells local media that she had prepared a Santa’s suit costume for her pet for Christmas and New Year. She also posted a video featuring her and the monkey brushing their teeth together before bed, which is featured below.
Nakhuda's next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31, with the next day also set aside in case it runs long. If her custody is restored, Nakhuda plans on moving to a cottage town outside Toronto, with no specific ban on keeping monkeys as pets.
Below is another video of Darwin, visiting his owner's office: