IKEA Monkey Update

Darwin, the infamous “IKEA Monkey,” escaped from his owner’s car in Toronto, ended up inside a nearby Ikea, found by store staff, and taken to an animal sanctuary. Owning a pet monkey in Toronto is illegal.


Darwin’s owner took the case to court against Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary to have the Japanese macaque returned to her, stating she was the best owner for him because he bonded with her and would be happiest in her home. Darwin lived for 5 months with his owner and her family, with many Youtube videos as proof of this and how well they cared for the monkey.

On Friday, September 13th, an Ontario judge dismissed the suit and stated that Darwin should remain at the animal sanctuary. The judge felt Darwin was a wild animal and not a pet, and that his owner lost custody of the animal when he escaped the car. After Darwin was taken to the sanctuary, his owner signed a paper turning him over to the city but later said she was tricked into signing the document.

The judge explained that the case shows the problem with having different laws about exotic or wild animals as pets in different areas, and enforcement of these laws. The judge stated:

“A high onus regarding provision of secure housing for wild animals is appropriate to place on their owners,” her decision reads. “Wild animals, particularly exotic ones, can be dangerous to the public.”

So once such an animal escapes the owner no longer has valid ownership.

I do not know if Darwin’s owner has further legal recourse, but for the time being Darwin remains at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary.

This case is a difficult one. I do not truly know if Darwin’s owner knew it was illegal to own him in Toronto, and I do think she would have moved to keep him. Their family had bonded with Darwin. But, I also agree that he could be considered a “wild animal.” Primates are very intelligent and often require levels of care and socialization that a normal family simply cannot provide. Maybe they were properly educated on everything they needed to do and know, maybe not. He probably should not have been in a cage in his owners car while they were off doing other things. I am not sure what kind of proper care that is for any animal. Moreover, Darwin was young and there is no telling what would happen to his personality once he reached maturity. An animal that is not domesticated will still have wild instincts and unpredictable behavior.

Under how the law was written I am not sure if the seizure of Darwin was correct, but being with others of his own kind in an environment made to be like his wild home in an animal sanctuary seems to be in his best interests.

What do you think? Was Darwin a truly “wild animal” and if he escaped could cause harm? After only 5 months of life with people, would he be more happy there or in a sanctuary?

— Fizz Pig

Origianl story: The Globe and Mail

IKEA Monkey

Did you keep up with the news story about that pet monkey Darwin who was lost at an IKEA? His case is now in court to decide if he will be returned to his owner.

Here is the now famous “IKEA Monkey”



If you did not see the original story, a year old rhesus macaque named Darwin was found wearing a diaper and faux shearling coat in a Toronto IKEA parking lot last December. He escaped his crate in owner Yasmin Nakhuda’s car while she was shopping in the store. It is illegal to keep monkeys as pets in the city so once caught by Toronto animal services Darwin was taken to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary. Yasmin was charged with animal abuse but that charge has been dropped.

Yasmin wants Darwin back and is currently in a legal battle. She says she was tricked into surrendering the animal once coming forward as Darwin’s lost owner, did not know it was illegal to keep him, and that she is willing to move where it is legal to own such pets if the court allows his return.

She has a facebook page dedicated to her cause called Darling Darwin Monkey, which features pictures, videos, and a lot of debate amongst people for and against her cause.

The contents of the Facebook page depict her as a loving owner whom Darwin bonded with. But many animal activists believe it is cruel to own primates because of their needs and intelligence. Some can become aggressive and dangerous as they reach maturity. Macaques are known to carry diseases like Hepatitis B and Herpes which can be transferred to humans.

What do you guys think? Would it be better for a monkey born in captivity and bonded to a human to be given back to that person, or should the animal go to a more natural environment in an animal sanctuary?

I will update when the court makes a decision later this month.


Here are a couple pictures from Darwin’s Facebook Page: