Video: 'Custody battle' continues over Ikea monkey


Yasmin NakhudaThe former owner of a Japanese macaque monkey found wandering around a Canadian Ikea store has appeared in court in an attempt to win back her beloved pet.

The monkey found fame last year when he was spotted dashing about the lobby of an Ikea in the outskirts of Toronto. Wearing a little sheepskin jacket and a nappy, and looking a "little scared," the image of Darwin the monkey was captured on shoppers' mobile phones and tweeted around the world. One of them commented: "It was pretty surreal ... Who takes a money to Ikea?"

Keeping these monkeys as pets is against the law in Toronto, the Globe and Mail reported, and Darwin was taken to the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, in Sunderland, Ontario, around 100 kilometres away from Toronto to be looked after.

But Darwin's owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, has since been struggling with Canadian authorities for the right to take her monkey back home. She has already tried to reclaim him on an interim basis, but the request was denied. According to the Globe and Mail, although the case cannot be called a custody battle since it concerns a pet and not a child, Nakhuda claims the animal is one of the family.
Aarti Pole, a reporter for CBC, said Nakhuda had told the court her time with Darwin gave her the opportunity to experience motherhood again. She refers to herself as the pet's Mommy and has said she is prepared to move her family to a jurisdiction that permits keeping macaques as pets if she gets him back.

The court case is set to be heard over four days in total, with two more days scheduled for 10 and 11 June 10. Nakhuda, a real estate lawyer, and Darwin have attracted huge interest, partly through a Facebook page, Darling Darwin Monkey, which was set up to give a voice to her campaign. The case had to be moved to a bigger courtroom to accommodate the many people who have shown up to support Nakhuda.

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