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Scene: Ikea Monkey’s Owner Holds a Protest

WHERE: A Toronto Animal Services clinic at 1300 Sheppard Avenue West.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 19

WHAT: Darwin the monkey, now world-famous for his escapades at an Ikea in North York, is currently cooling his heels at a place called Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, in Sunderland, Ontario. But Yasmin Nakhuda, the Toronto real-estate lawyer who was Darwin’s keeper before he hit the big time, wants her pet back. (That’s her, in the top photo.) Yesterday, at a protest staged by Nakhuda, about 30 people—many of them friends and family—showed up. Nakhuda claims Darwin was illegally separated from her by Toronto bylaw-enforcement officials, and she’s reportedly suing the primate sanctuary for monkey custody.

CORRECTION: December 20, 2012, 11:35 AM This post originally misspelled the name of the sanctuary where Darwin is currently located. The name has now been corrected. We regret the error.


  • Ryan Mannik

    Primates are not pets, screw this selfish person.

  • Gordon Yarley

    This woman just gets more and more nuts.

    • Holly McDaniel

      Scary enough she found people to join in her insanity!

      • vampchick21

        Even scarier…she’s a real estate lawyer?

        • Anonymous

          and she whored out children to make her point

      • vampchick21

        Even scarier….she’s a real estate lawyer?

  • Pk

    Good god, enough already. She shouldn’t have a monkey in the first place. She’s embarassing herself.

  • Arteme

    Editor: please note, the sanctuary is actually called “Story BOOK Farm” –
    I really hope Darwin gets to stay in the sanctuary, rather than be returned to this woman who seems to think he is a doll to dress up.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for pointing this out! The name has been corrected.

  • O. Terry

    Someone should stop this monkey business.

  • winkee

    This is ridiculous we get 11 (including xx and newstand) posts now about this monkey nonsense? heaven forbid any real news should get coverage, like IdleNoMore or the teachers strike, or GM continuing to trample the east end of the GTA.
    Who cares, the monkey wasn’t taken from the owner, the owner was irresponsible and lost the monkey who was then picked up by animal services and is illegal to own! End of story, why is this even an issue, this does not deserve any coverage at all.

    • vampchick21

      Hi! This is a blog. If you want extended and in depth coverage of news, please visit a newspaper.

      • winkee

        Where did I say indepth or extended? I didn’t I simply said cover stories that are important not some bs that was sparked by an internet meme.
        And last I checked news is included in the Torontoist’s scope, so unless you think this is more news worthy than any of the stories I listed (and didn’t list) I don’t really see your point.

        • vampchick21

          My point is that this is a blog and covers anything and everything. Not a newspaper. You know the difference.

        • Anonymous

          The news sparked the meme, not the other way around, and it’s still newsworthy – things are happening related to it, this article isn’t simply “hey, remember that monkey?” filler.

          Publishing this article doesn’t mean something else was bumped off to make room, or that more srs bsns pieces aren’t in the works.

    • vampchick21

      Hi! This is a blog. If you are seeking extended news coverage of important stories, domestic and international, please seek out a newspaper.

  • Jackie Mersereau

    It is not
    possible to return Darwin to his family because his mother was likely shot and
    killed in order for Darwin to be taken. Just because you dress your monkey in
    diapers and teach it to brush it’s teeth does not mean it is domesticated. He
    is a wild animal and the ‘owner’ is extremely selfish in believing that she can
    be a substitute. Darwin belongs in the sanctuary. period!

    • Anonymous

      For argument’s sake:

      What evidence is there Darwin wasn’t domesticated? Why doesn’t your argument apply to cats, dogs, fish, or other common pets?

      • Anonymous

        “August 2006, Chicago: A 14-year-old girl was hospitalized after a pet rhesus macaque monkey escaped from a cage. The girl’s arm was reportedly “bitten to the bone.”

        Read more:

        • Anonymous

          Pitbulls and pitbull-related dogs are banned (as breeds) in Ontario, but more germane to this discussion: any dog proven to be dangerous is also banned. It follows then, that either dogs are not domesticated, or domestication isn’t an indicator of potential danger.

          • Anonymous

            I’m putting you on a short leash.

          • Anonymous

            OR Owners are irresponsible for their domesticated animals, the way parents can be irresponsible for their children. If a child ends up in Juvenile detention for robbing a corner store, does that mean all humans are uncivilized?

      • Anonymous

        Because primates are not bred for domestication for thousands of years like dogs and cats? Duh.

        • Anonymous
          • Anonymous

            Considering that non-trivial numbers of cat owners choose the pet explicitly because they want it to help control a vermin problem, I imagine a lot of them would be frustrated to learn that their cat *doesn’t* kill an animal on occasion.

            As to dogs killing babies, accidents happen. The vast majority of dogs are not violent. Here’s the story of a beer-factory death: should we ban beer?

          • Anonymous

            If Darwin bit someone at Ikea, would you say “accidents happen”, or would you say it’s proof monkeys can’t possibly be a safe pet? (That’s the same argument used to ban all pitbulls and relatives – a few kids get mauled and the entire breed is tossed out.)

          • Anonymous

            This thread isn’t about the pitbull ban.

          • Anonymous

            No, this thread is about why dogs and cats aren’t banned on the same grounds as Darwin.

            We have no laws against adopting rescued or feral dogs/cats from the wild. Dogs/cats are taken from their mothers as pups/kittens. Domestication doesn’t exempt some breeds of dog from being banned, so it can’t be a variable. So, why isn’t Darwin allowed if he meets those criteria?

          • Anonymous

            Because primate psychology and sociology is radically different from those of domesticated dogs and cats.

            Primates stay with the same social group for their entire lives, and depend upon constant access to others of the same species in order to develop into healthy, psychologically-normal creatures.

            By comparison, domesticated cats will often “abandon” their family and social group, of their own accord, within a few months of birth, and do not require that constant access in order to develop into healthy adults.

          • Anonymous

            [citation needed]

            Dogs are social animals too, and we domesticated them by inserting ourselves into the Alpha role. We aren’t the same species, so are pet dogs not psychologically normal dogs?

            We keep all sorts of social animals in zoos and aquaria too, at that.

          • Anonymous

            “Dogs are social animals too”

            But after centuries of breeding, not to nearly the same extent as primates. (Indeed, many breeds of dog pretty much explicitly depend upon being fed and loved by human beings. Absent that treatment, they degenerate quickly–not into independent wolf-like creatures, but into shuddering, shambling, desperate things. That’s what centuries of breeding them into perfect pets does to an animal.)

            We might also consider that dogs, because of that history of breeding, are essentially designed to inhabit human spaces, interact with human families, and to grow and prosper in human contexts. Primates, no. Not at all. They’re cute and adorable as babies and that’s where it ends: as adults, they are destructive, dangerous, and ill-suited to human habitats.

            And as it happens, there’s an ongoing and worthwhile discussion about whether zoos and aquaria are too cruel to be allowed in a civilized society.

          • Anonymous

            Dogs have access to other dogs. How many leash-free primate parks do you know of?

          • Anonymous

            Because instinct isn’t the same as behaviour.

          • vampchick21

            Are you just playing devil’s advocate now?

          • vampchick21

            You’re just playing devil’s advocate now, aren’t you? You know the difference between tame and domesticated.

          • Anonymous

            I did start this with “for argument’s sake”.

            Tame and domesticated, by the way, are synonyms.

          • vampchick21

            Sigh. Really? You do know the difference between a tame tiger and a housecat.

          • Anonymous

            One is very big, the other is not.

          • vampchick21

            so are you for the tame tiger or against the housecat?

          • Anonymous

            I’m not “for” either, I’m trying to discuss why some dangerous animals are legal pets, and some tame animals are not.

      • Anonymous

        You mean aside from the fact that it took centuries to domesticate housecats and domestic dogs, while she basically just took this monkey straight from the wild and plopped it into her kitchen?

        I mean, yes, there are people who have jaguars and wolves as “pets”, but these people have the most uncanny habit of getting mauled by these creatures.

  • Pat

    Possibly the least important protest in the city’s history

  • Meow

    First of all, it’s illegal for her to own the animal, so it can’t be illegally separated from her. That’s like owning an illegally procured AK47 and complaining that it got confiscated. She should be paying a fine. Also, she obviously showed the entire world her gross neglect when she had a monkey running around an Ikea parking lot.

  • Anonymous

    I just hope they never take him to visit Captain John’s, because then Torontoist would report NOTHING ELSE for months.

    • Anonymous

      Well, there’s the blanket coverage of obscure pop bands and strip mall fast food joints…

  • Jamie

    I wrote a blog about why this crazy lady shoud not get her monkey back just yesterday – And my reasons aren’t just because she’s crazy. But she is.

  • Ikea Monkey Shirt

    This story calls for an IKEA monkey shirt!
    I know just the one!
    Shameless self promotion, but it’s just what the doctor ordered, if the doctor is ordering a finely made shirt.

  • Trixit

    lol such a comedy. Some folk have pet hyenas you know.

  • Nurse Ratched

    It’s beyond me how there is even the slightest chance this woman may regain custody of this animal. Not only did she illegally own this monkey – she neglected it. Leaving an animal in a car, in the cold while shopping at ikea may be considered by some as ABUSE.

  • Paul Hackl

    How and where did she get the little guy in the first place anyway? Are the police investigating that issue as well?

  • Katherine Logan

    Ummm….but it’s illegal to own this pet…protest all ya want honey! don’t like our laws? Go back to your own country….oooooh did I say that?