The Ikea monkey's mom is mad. First, animal control officials took away her precious Darwin. Now, they won't give him back. So she decided to stage a protest with 15 friends. It's hard enough not to laugh at the photo of the protestors holding up pictures of Darwin behind bars, as if he's some sort of political prisoner. But once you hear his owner start talking about why he deserves to be free, you're going to lose it.
Before we go any further into our Ikea monkey protest coverage, let's get one thing straight. Darwin is a seven-month-old Japanese macaque, an animal that is illegal to keep as a pet in Toronto. Yasmin Nakhuda, the woman who identifies herself as Darwin's "mom" and is staging the protest, has already been fined $240 for keeping a prohibited animal in custody. (That's her to the right in the hat or turban or whatever that is.) Toronto Animal Services, the villains that snatched up Darwin at the local Ikea after Nahkuda lost him, is just following the law which says that a wild animal is owned by whomever possesses it, which is them. We said last week that we hoped the inevitable custody battle didn't turn ugly -- just think of poor Darwin's fragile feelings! But alas, it has.
Nakhuda is fighting to get Darwin back on a couple of fronts. First, there's the protest that took place outside of a Toronto Animal Services office on Wednesday. Accounts vary in their estimates of the size of the crowd. Some say it was just six people, "all members of the media," while others say there were 20 people at the peak. One photo we found of the action shows at least nine people, including one very bored-looking child. Nakhuda was there too, talking to the press, and appeared to refer to him as a human. "He was not a dog, he was not a cat, he was a little person.," she told CBC. "Japanese macaques, they have 93 per cent human DNA. So, he would act like a little child, and therefore when I call him my son, I'm not mental."
You know what other animal is very genetically similar to humans? Jellyfish. That's a whole other story, though.
The second front that Nakhuda is fighting on is a legal one. On Thursday, she'll go to court and claim that Darwin was "illegally" taken from her. "They had no right to take away my little one without giving me the right to be heard," she said on Wednesday. But if you remember how we met Darwin, it was because he was wandering around an Ikea parking lot, all alone. It sounds to us like she straight up lost the monkey, and who knows what could've happened to him if animal services hadn't come to pick him up. Darwin's now living in a monkey sanctuary, though it's unclear if he's actually behind bars. If Nakhuda manages to get Darwin back, she says she'll move her entire family two hours east to the Kawartha Lakes, where it's legal to keep monkeys as pets.
Meanwhile, Christmas is ruined. "I had bought his Santa Claus and Christmas dress and his bow-tie for the New Year," Nakhuda said. "[But] he is not here right now to wear it."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.