Pet Monkey Escapes Car, Goes Shopping at Ikea

Darwin, a Japanese snow macaques, escaped from a car and began wandering the floors of a Toronto IKEA. Authorities have since taken the domesticated monkey, which is illegal to own in Toronto, to a primate sanctuary.Darwin, a Japanese snow macaques, escaped from a car and began wandering the floors of a Toronto IKEA. Authorities …When an animal escaped from a locked car and began wandering around a Toronto IKEA parking lot, Canadian authorities didn't waste time monkeying around.

The wild-animal-turned-pet, Darwin, a Japanese snow macaques monkey, was taken to a primate sanctuary because (obviously) Toronto doesn't want animals wearing diapers and shearling coats. But more important, this particular species of monkey often carries Herpes B and can transmit it to humans, according to Canadian news reports.

Darwin's owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, a Toronto-based real estate lawyer, was fined $240 and is now fighting to regain possession of her beloved pet. (Side note: You'd think a real estate lawyer might realize that, you know, a pet monkey might not be legal where she lived -- clearly, not the case here!)

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In an interview with ABC News, Ms. Nakhuda said that IKEA had previously escorted her and Darwin out of the store because of a no-pets policy. But Ms. Nakhuda considers Darwin more than just a pet.

"I said he was not a pet; he was my child," said Ms. Nakhuda, who also has two human children, ages 12 and 16. (I'm sure her sons are totally thrilled that a monkey shares equal status with them in their mother's mind!)

"So the next time I went in [to Ikea] I told Darwin he was going to be in the car for a little while," she told ABC News. "I guess he got a little bit curious and unlocked the crate by himself and he unlocked the car door, which I wasn't expecting."

Even if she thought it wasn't going to escape, I'm not sure why she thought it was OK to leave a monkey in a parked car, especially because she considers Darwin her "child." You know what the temperature is right now in Toronto? 28 degrees. I mean, I know he's a snow macaque, and he did have on a shearling coat and all, but still! Brr!

As for the coat, he's no longer wearing it, said Story Brook's Sherri Delaney. "He came with the famous coat, but the coat has been removed, the diaper has been removed and the harness has been removed," Ms. Delaney told ABCNews.com today. "He's just going to be who he is now and that's a monkey."

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Although that's probably the best thing for Darwin, I can't help but think a monkey that can get out of a locked cage -- then out of a locked car -- would probably be awesome at assembling IKEA furniture.

Ms. Nakhuda explained her plan of attack for getting the monkey back. "The plan is to try to get him and move out of Toronto where I can own him," she told ABC News. "He's in a cage, and he's never been caged by me," she said, I guess because a crate in the car is not the same as a cage?

Probably she's afraid that he'll forget to brush his teeth without her:



And here's a video of Darwin, before the IKEA incident, at Ms. Nakhuda's office, climbing the blinds and chewing on an office chair. I can't imagine anything I would find more reassuring in an attorney than finding a monkey in her office, chewing on her chair.




- By Joslyn Gray
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