TORONTO, Ont. – Darwin “the Ikea monkey” — the stylish baby monkey found wandering in a North York Ikea parking lot Sunday afternoon — arrived at his new home at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, in Sunderland, Ont., Monday.
The seven-month-old rhesus macaque had been glum but in otherwise good shape after spending a night in an animal shelter following his Sunday afternoon stroll in the Ikea parking lot.
Darwin apparently managed to open his crate — clad in a tiny shearling coat — and escape his owner’s car to frolic in the parking lot about 30 minutes.
Watch CityNews exclusive home video of Darwin
Toronto Animal Services spokeswoman Mary Lou Leiher said Darwin was in good shape after being captured.
Darwin’s former owner told animal services staff that the now world-famous monkey was born in Montreal. He had been living in Toronto as a pet.
Rhesus macaques are known carriers of some diseases such as herpes and Hepatitis B and are a prohibited animal in Toronto. His owner was fined $240.
“It’s not appropriate to keep an animal like this as a pet, especially in the city where he’s obviously gotten loose and [is] roaming around the parking lot,” Leiher said.
“The animal’s safety was at risk, the public’s safety was also at risk.”
At his new home Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland about —100 kilometres northeast of Toronto — Darwin will have “visual access to other primates of his kind and of other kinds,” said Leslie Barrett, chairperson of the sanctuary’s board of directors.
“He’s going to learn how to jump and play and act like a monkey.”
Barrett said Darwin will be paired with a female baboon.
“She has a lot of maternal instincts. We’re thinking that perhaps over time that we would be able to put Darwin with her.”
“He’s going to have a mother figure and she will have a baby to raise,” she said.
According to the website, the sanctuary houses primates that are retiring from biomedical research, zoos, universities, pets and private residences. Currently, the sanctuary is home to 24 monkeys.
Darwin’s Ikea escapade made headlines worldwide and social media was flooded with pictures and video of the pint-sized monkey.