01/20/2015 05:49 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT

Ikea Monkey's Former Owner Buys 2 New Primates, Supporters Say


TORONTO - Supporters of a woman who calls herself the Ikea monkey's "mom" claim in a Facebook post that she has now bought two monkeys.

The group of supporters called Darling Darwin Monkey says Yasmin Nakhuda's new monkeys are two six-year-old snow Japanese macaques named Sumo and Tibet.

Nakhuda couldn't be reached for comment and her common-law partner, Samar Katoch, said he couldn't confirm the report, adding neither would be speaking to the media.

But a woman who identified herself as one of the supporters behind the Facebook page told The Canadian Press that the new monkeys were purchased from the now-closed Northwood Zoo.

She said they are living at Nakhuda's home in Kawartha Lakes, where there is no ban on owning monkeys.

The post, dated Monday, has outraged at least one animal rights group — Animal Justice — which says Ontario needs province-wide laws on keeping and selling exotic pets.

Nakhuda last year gave up her legal battle to regain ownership of Darwin, the monkey whose plight drew worldwide attention after he was found wandering around a Toronto Ikea wearing a tiny shearling coat in December 2012.

The infant Japanese macaque escaped from a crate in Nakhuda's car and was seized by Toronto Animal Services, which sent him to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont.

Nakhuda sued in an attempt to get him back, but an Ontario Superior Court justice ruled that Darwin is a wild animal and that Nakhuda's ownership ended with his escape from her car.

She appealed but eventually gave up her effort, citing steep legal expenses.

Nakhuda's supporters said in their Facebook post that they hesitated "for some time" before publicly announcing that she had two new monkeys, "out of fear of wrath and violent reactions from those who've done all they could to deprive Yasmin Nakhuda of having Darwin or any other primate live with her."

The woman, who did not want her name published for fear of reprisals from animal-rights activists, said the animals are housed in "a beautiful enclosure" in a converted part of the home.

"They're like part of the family," she said.

Neither Sumo nor Tibet wear clothes, she said.

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