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Darwin The 'IKEA Monkey' Can't Go Home For Christmas, Judge Rules

Darwin, when he was on the lam at IKEA.
ABC News
Darwin, when he was on the lam at IKEA.

(Now, for something completely different.)

"Darwin, known worldwide as the Toronto IKEA monkey, will spend the Christmas holidays in an animal sanctuary until a court ruling about his long-term custody is heard in January," the CBC reports.

As the Toronto Star says, "Justice Michael Brown ruled Friday morning that the monkey must stay at the sanctuary where it is now being held." The Star adds that:

"Brown also denied a request for weekend visitation away from the sanctuary for the monkey's owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, but said she could visit him there."

If you've somehow missed the story of the rhesus macaque that went missing, The Associated Press wrote about the Dec. 9 incident that:

"Shoppers at an IKEA store in Toronto weren't monkeying around when they reported a primate on the loose. Customers spotted a monkey — clad in a pint-sized shearling coat — wandering around the store's parking lot Sunday afternoon. The baby monkey, named Darwin, made its way through rows of parked cars and ended up outside a set of store doors.

"IKEA staff lured the primate into a corner before calling police, who contacted the city's Animal Services department, said Staff Sgt. Ed Dzingala."

He had "escaped from an animal crate in a parked car as his owners shopped," Reuters says.

Darwin was taken to a sanctuary because Nakhuda may have been violating Toronto's "prohibited-animal" laws. Since then, Nakhuda has been arguing in court that she should get him back. Today, the CBC says:

"Nakhuda sat in court crying as her lawyer told the judge that if she can't visit with Darwin at home, she doesn't want to do it at all. Visiting him behind bars would be too stressful for him, she said through her lawyer.

Outside court, Nakhuda was too upset to say much, but her husband urged people to put the case 'in a human context.'

" 'Darwin is not a dog, he's not a cat, he's not a lizard. He's 93 per cent human DNA,' the husband, who only gave his name as Sam, said, choking up."

According to Reuters, "Nakhuda has posted videos on YouTube showing the monkey brushing his teeth and dressed up for Halloween. She told local media that she has a Santa suit for him to wear at Christmas and a bow tie for New Year's Eve."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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