In the week and a half since Darwin the Ikea Monkey captivated the world's attention with his fancy coat and car-escaping ways, there have been countless memes and jokes about the tiny pet, resulting in good, harmless fun for everyone. Well, everyone except Yasmin Nakhuda, Darwin's former owner who lost custody of the pet after the incident.
After Darwin was found wandering in the store, Toronto Animal Services placed the Japanese macaque in an animal sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario, where he's resided since. For obvious reasons, this hasn't gone over well with Nakhuda, a real estate attorney, who held a protest outside a Toronto Animal Services office on Wednesday, seeking Darwin's return
"Unless you have owned a primate, you can't really understand my relationship with Darwin," Nakhuda said Wednesday, during a rally held outside Toronto Animal Services.
"He was not a dog, he was not a cat, he was a little person...Japanese macaques, they have 93 per cent human DNA. So, he would act like a little child, and therefore when I call him my son, I'm not mental," she said. "I don't think that's the situation here."
Fifteen people reportedly protested alongside Nakhuda, who claims Darwin was taken from her illegally because she was unable to "remedy the situation" after being fined $240 for breaking Toronto's prohibited animal laws.
"I've spoken to a number of people in the legal community and they do agree that there is no statute allowing the city to take an animal away based on the circumstances," Nakhuda said at the protest.
Nakhuda is so determined to keep Darwin that, according to court documents, she's willing to move, along with her husband and two children, two hours east to the more monkey-friendly city of Kawartha Lakes. She also told Toronto's Newstalk 1010 that she's lost 10 lbs since the ordeal began.
But the primate sanctuary is gearing up for a fight, saying the monkey is doing well in his current habitat.
"Nakhuda has no claim of ownership over a wild animal that is no longer in her possession," the sanctuary said in its response to her filing to have Darwin returned.
Nakhuda and her supporters, however, believe they'll have Darwin back in time for Christmas. In fact, she's so confident of his return that she already has his holiday outfits picked out.
"I [already] bought his Santa Claus and Christmas dress and his bow-tie for the New Year," Nakhuda said.
Nope, nothing weird about this at all.