Ikea monkey ‘mom’ won’t get him back
TORONTO—The Ikea monkey may have worn clothing and slept in his former owner’s bed, but he still is a wild animal and therefore should not be returned to the woman who calls herself his “mom,” a judge ruled today.
The minute “Darwin” the monkey made his great escape from Yasmin Nakhuda’s car at the Toronto furniture store in December, she lost any ownership claim to him, Ontario Superior Court Judge Mary Vallee found.
“The monkey lived in Ms. Nakhuda’s house. He wore clothing. For a time, he slept in Ms. Nakhuda’s bed,” she noted.
“These attempts at domestication were imposed on him.”
But Darwin bit people, especially Nakhuda’s husband, and could not be house broken so he had to wear a diaper.
He also wore a harness most of the time so he couldn’t run away.
“I have no hesitation in finding that this monkey is not a domestic animal,” Vallee wrote.
Since she found Darwin was not a domestic animal, a wild animal legal principle must apply that says a person only owns a wild animal for as long as it is in their possession, Vallee found.
In other words, once a wild animal kept as a pet runs away, it no longer legally belongs to its former owner.
That principle dates back to 1917 and was the only case the lawyers could find that dealt with the ownership of a wild animal that has escaped.
Although that case is nearly 100 years old, the principle still applies, Vallee wrote.
“The monkey is not a child,” she noted.
“Callous as it may seem, the monkey is a chattel—that is to say, a piece of property.”
Nakhuda’s lawyer’s office said she would not be commenting on the decision today.
After she lost previous interim bids to get Darwin back, Nakhuda left court distraught.