Monkey should choose his fate, human 'mother' says
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2012 8:22AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2012 6:27PM EST
The human 'mother' of the dapper monkey that's been grabbing international headlines since he was found wandering an Ikea parking lot says he should be able to decide where he lives.
In a telephone interview Tuesday morning, Yasmin Nakhuda said it's not about fighting to get the monkey back from the Story Book Farm Primate Sancutuary he was taken to Monday.
"It's about whether he needs me. I believe he does. No matter what anybody else is saying," Nakhuda told CP24.
"If I walk into that room, let him choose. Does he want to come to me or go to that other monkey mom? How do we know what he needs unless he's given the right to choose."
But in an earlier interview, the sanctuary's president and co-founder said that wouldn't be a good idea.
"She has not been denied visitation at all," Sherri Delaney told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday morning. "What I have asked of her is that she think of the monkey first and herself second at this stage of the game."
That means giving the newly-famous primate enough time to get acquainted and adjusted to his new home approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Toronto.
Rushing into a reunion, "would just cause more trauma to him," Delaney said.
"So I'm asking her to sit back and let us do what we need to do here for him. And then, at some point, she's more than welcome to come for a visit under the sanctuary's terms."
Nakhuda -- who has posted several videos of herself and the monkey on YouTube -- was forced to surrender Darwin to Animal Services after he was caught at a north Toronto Ikea on Sunday.
She was also fined $240 for owning the Montreal-born monkey, as primates are among the types of pets prohibited in Toronto. But not before the diaper-clad monkey wearing a shearling coat was photographed by astonished shoppers and shot to instant celebrity via social media.
Nakhuda describes this video as "Baby Monkey Kissing Human Mom":
By Sunday night, Darwin's escape from a crate in Nakhuda's parked car was making headlines around the world.
Animal Services took a serious view of the discovery, however, expressing concern he could bite or be carrying a disease transmissible to humans.
He was tested for Herpes before the transfer to Sunderland Monday.
Delaney said that, after a restless night, Darwin did manage to catch some sleep and is now bouncing around his enclosure.
"He's a very busy boy," she said.
But Nakhuda said she's unconvinced Darwin is managing so well without her.
"People who know him and know us can vouch for that fact that if I step out of the room, he'll have a fit; even if he's with us at the office and I step out, he'll start screaming, " she said in a telephone interview.
In fact, Nakhuda said, their bond was forged early on.
The Scarborough real estate lawyer said a client who knew she was the owner of two exotic birds suggested she contact Darwin's breeder.
She did, and was given Darwin for a trial period that proved to be more than she thought she could handle. But when she went to give him back, he wouldn't go.
"He started running towards me, grabbing me very hard and screaming his head off," she said.
"It was clear he had bonded to me."
Darwin, a monkey that was found wandering around a Toronto Ikea's parking lot, climbs his cage at the Story Book Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (Tom Podolec / CTV News)
A small monkey wearing a winter coat and a diaper exits an IKEA in Toronto on Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. The monkey let itself out of its crate in a parked and went for a walk. The animal's owner contacted police later in the day and was reunited with their pet, police said. (Bronwyn Page / The Canadian Press)