NEWS

Ikea Monkey Fundraiser: Darwin Needs Help Keeping Roof Over Its Head

04/15/2015 11:57 EDT | Updated 06/15/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Ikea monkey needs help keeping a roof over its head.

Darwin the monkey — whose story went viral in December 2012 when he was found wandering outside an Ikea store wearing a shearling coat — has been living at Ontario's Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary ever since a court placed him in its care.

The sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont., east of Toronto, has been trying to raise money for a move to new premises since late last year but says donations have dried up and "the situation is desperate."

Story Book is now launching a renewed push for funds, saying it will be evicted from its current premises on June 30.

Daina Liepa, a member of the sanctuary's board of directors, says Story Book is "out of options and out of money."

The sanctuary is appealing to the public as it seeks to raise $250,000 to give Darwin and his fellow primates a new home.

"At Story Book Farm, these primates are given dignity and allowed to be who they are as much as possible. But two more turns of the calendar and they will be homeless and with no reasonable options for living quarters," Liepa wrote in a letter to supporters. "Story Book Farm can be saved but they can’t do it alone."

Darwin is mentioned by name in the sanctuary's latest call for financial help, but Story Book notes it houses 20 monkeys.

Darwin became something of an international celebrity after he escaped from a crate in his owner's car parked in a Toronto Ikea parking lot.

Images of him in his tiny beige shearling coat as he wandered all the way into the store triggered a social media frenzy.

Animal services seized him and sent him to Story Book, prompting his owner, Yasmin Nakhuda to sue the sanctuary in an effort to get him back.

An Ontario Superior Court justice then ruled that Darwin is a wild animal and that Nakhuda's ownership ended with his escape from her car.

Nakhuda decided to appeal the ruling but abandoned her effort, saying it was too costly and had little chance of success.


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