US & Canada

'Ikea monkey' Darwin will not be returned to its owner

Media captionShoppers at the Toronto Ikea car park were surprised to find Darwin on the loose

Darwin, the monkey that escaped in an Ikea car park in Toronto, Canada, last December, will not return to its owner.

Ontario Judge Mary Vallee has ruled that under Canadian law Darwin is a wild animal, and a sanctuary should keep the Japanese macaque.

His owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, had sued, arguing that animal services tricked her into surrendering the pet.

Images of the animal, who was wearing a little shearling coat and nappy, became an internet sensation.

Monkeys like Darwin are illegal to own in Canada, and in Friday's ruling, Judge Vallee said concerns about disease were a valid reason for detaining the animal.

The judge found Ms Nakhuda had been "upset, but was not unduly influenced" when she signed the form consenting for Darwin to be transferred to the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario.

Ms Nakhuda said the animal, which escaped from her car, had been part of her family and was always by her side, even when she slept and showered.

"At the beginning, I was told that was the best for him because generally, monkeys live off the back of the mom," she said in December, adding the monkey would "get into a panic attack" when she was out of sight.

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