Eleven years ago, today, Darwin, an incredibly fashionable six-month-old Japanese macaque, wearing a shearling coat and a diaper, was found wandering around an Ikea in North York, a Toronto suburb. Global News explains how he got there:
His owner had left him in a crate when she parked at the store. Darwin escaped the crate, unlocked the car door, and walked into the parking lot where he was discovered.
He became known as "Ikea Monkey" and became an overnight internet sensation.
So, happy Ikea Monkey Day! I thought you might want to know what happened to the little fella. The poor guy had been illegally kept as a pet, and after he was captured in Ikea, his owner was fined $240 and surrendered him. Darwin ended up at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario, and now lives there with a couple dozen other primates, including another famous critter, Pockets Warhol, a capuchin whose paintings help fund the organization that rescues abandoned monkeys and lemurs.
Global News provides more information about Darwin and the sanctuary:
While he is normally swinging around, his new caretaker, Daina Liepa, says he's tired of the spotlight and has adopted a new personality.
"He tends to be quite shy," said Liepa, who cares for all the primates at the sanctuary. "My theory is that his previous owner took him to meetings and to the office. Here, he has the option to be in and out at anytime, and that's the choice they all have."
The sanctuary, founded in 2000, is home to 17 monkeys and eight lemurs. All have been rescued from private owners, roadside zoos, or have retired from service as testing animals. "Most of the monkeys we have are macaque. We have three species of macaque — long-tail macaque, Rhesus macaque, and Japanese macaque," Liepa said.