Let the Ikea monkey go home

Yasmin Nakhuda deserves one more chance with Darwin, writes Barbara Amiel

Lisa Lin/Rex Features/Canadian Press

Personally speaking, I wouldn’t want a monkey for a pet although Darwin, the seven-month-old rhesus macaque captured Dec. 9 in a Toronto Ikea parking lot is appealing. Far more I might say than the live rat on the shoulder of a woman in Lake Worth, Fla., near where I lived once, who wore it every weekend. Unlike pet rats, pet monkeys are forbidden in Toronto. The city’s bylaws are numerous (183,000), with amendments electronically updated. If it’s chickens you want to raise or a tree cut down, the City of Toronto will say no or make it damn difficult.

Darwin has belonged to a Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda, a real estate lawyer, since he was six weeks old. She underestimated the opposable thumb primates share with us and so when her car was parked at a north Toronto Ikea, Darwin undid his crate, opened the vehicle door and went out. Along came Toronto’s famed animal control officers—famed in my experience for their total lack of empathy for animals—and took him away. Fair enough. You can’t leave a seven-month-old anything wandering about a parking lot in December, even though he did have his coat on. When Ms. Nakhuda came to claim him, she got a $240 fine and a form in which she signed away rights to Darwin. Big mistake. She claims they talked about criminal action and I am not entirely disbelieving. But when you lose a pet, you tend to lose a lot of other things including rationality.

Darwin has been relocated to a primate care facility called Story Book Farm outside Toronto which takes in such lost souls—monkeys who have been commandeered for lab research or just dumped by roadside zoos. Bravo to Story Book Farm. Nothing wrong with them using Darwin’s celebrity to raise funds—please donate. Still, Yasmin wants Darwin back and one can’t help feeling that a collection of traumatized monkeys on the mend is not necessarily a better home for Darwin than hers where he runs free like a family member. Ms. Nakhuda suggested Darwin choose but the judge who heard her petition, no Solomon he, put the case over to January.

To strengthen the rationale for this pet grab, parties at interest issued stern warnings. Rhesus macaques may carry herpes as well as hepatitis B. A particularly dirty shot came from the sanctuary’s lawyer, Kevin Toyne, who told the court there are concerns things have gone wrong with Darwin while in Ms. Nakhuda’s custody and “it would not be appropriate to leave the two of them alone.” This is typical of the protection racket run by those abysmal creatures promulgating and enforcing regulations. In the name of defending the victim—in this case Darwin—the sanctuary’s lawyer presents a seedy insinuation hoping for an investigation—essentially pure harassment. Story Book Farm now stipulates that Yasmin be searched on any visit to Darwin, accompanied by a police escort and prohibited from touching her pet.

The sanctuary put up a blog posting from Darwin: “I am so happy to finally be able to live and act like a real monkey!” he says, although a further posting, “I would also love to be able to play with toys and other enrichment items,” is not entirely compatible with that. Monkeys do not ask for “enrichment items.” Actually, no one does except OISE graduates and social workers. Nor is life behind bars in a cage any more like the home of a “real monkey” than Yasmin Nakhuda’s dwelling with her one-on-one attention and day trips for Darwin.

Darwin has been in touch with me too. He is utterly confused. Having been with humans since age six weeks, he has no idea what people are talking about, forcing him to “live like a real monkey.” Where are the bed linens and dining room table? He’s heard about the herpes virus and worries that it might ruin any chance of bonding with a lady rhesus—should that ever be available. When is he supposed to warn her of his possible condition? Do they take tests together? Nor is he getting a warm reception from the other macaques who, hearing of Toyne’s “concerns,” think Darwin may be a bit of a male ho.

Obviously a free community has the right to determine what fauna it wants within its borders. On the principle that adult rate-payers are human beings who can govern their own affairs, restrictions should be limited to ones necessary for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all. I can’t fault a city that doesn’t want to chance anacondas and tigers as pets although the famous painter Endre Szasz who lived in Toronto in the early seventies kept an ocelot in Rosedale and the late “Baron” Von Heczey had a couple of cheetahs in his Toronto Annex home. Heczey was a six-foot-three, 250-lb. wrestler. Probably anyone smaller should not have wild cats.

Tiny monkey Darwin was at large, indicating a lapse on the part of his owner. Okay, fine her, move her (she’s just rented in animal-tolerant Kawartha Lakes, Ont., though newspapers claim a rush to pass laws there against exotic pets). But straightforward confiscation is crossing a double yellow line—made more despicable by sophistry claiming Darwin to be a wild beast and therefore the “property” of whoever has possession. I’d give Ms. Nakhuda one more chance.

Ms. Nakhuda’s desire for a pet monkey seems barmy but craziness is a human right provided no one is endangered or harmed. If we could devise sufficient tests for animals we’d likely find their mental function and intelligence higher than we know and consequently our own behaviour often cruder. Taking Darwin from the only mother he has known because of a bylaw is inflexible and cruel, the hallmark of a society that has lost its bearings, just like Darwin. His excuse is being only seven months old. What’s ours?

Have a comment to share? barbara.amiel@macleans.rogers.com




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Let the Ikea monkey go home

  1. I agree completely and whole-heartedly. Seems cruel to have taken him away from the owner; if my dog got out of the yard, as dogs do at (happy and free) times, would taking him to live in a cage at the humane society really be better for her? Of course not. I am so sick and tired of rules and regs against common sense. Darwin is better off with his owner. Also, she shows good taste in his clothing.

    • Sorry for that pronoun issue: the dog is a her, not a him.

    • Rules and regs against common sense? Do you know ANYTHING about monkeys at all? Do you know why they are illegal as pets? What should have happened is this baby should never have been stolen from his mother (who was likely killed) and imported into Canada to be some crazy lady’s play toy. Monkeys are nothing like dogs, I suggest you do some reading on the subjects of domesticated pets and endangered animal species.

  2. Goes to prove even if you have a lot of $ you cannot leave the “monkey business” or gorillas for that matter behind

  3. Monkeys aren’t dogs. Or people. They’re wild jungle animals. An apartment isn’t a proper home for a monkey. In one of a Yasmin Nakhuda’s videos on Youtube, she gets mad at Darwin when he climbs on a door. He’s a monkey. Not a child. Raising him like a child will only end badly for Ms. Nakhuda and, more tragically, for Darwin himself. Let him climb trees and swing on things and play with other monkeys.

    • I think you are really missing the point. I agree that animals belong in the “wild” with their own communities. Unfortunately, it is a bit too late for that for Darwin, He will not survive the wild. There are only two options for him, Either he lives out the rest of his life locked up in a cage at a sanctuary or he lives it out in a loving human home – the only one he has known his entire young life until he was taken away from it. In case you have any illusions that he might be better off at a sanctuary, let me just say that a sanctuary (espeically the one he’s in now) is very much like a “Refugee Camp”. It is the next best thing for those who would have been in far worse places and situations but it is farthest from being ideal. Darwin was not in a far worse situation before he was taken to the sanctuary, The same videos you talk about also show that he was pampered and well-cared for. We all see that he is a Monkey and quite frankly, I would much rather see him treated like achild the rest of life than see him rot in a cage at a sanctuary, We have more than enough animals locked up in cages, largely because of our ignorance, Sure Monkeys aren’t dogs, but if you had the privilege of raising both as I have, you would know that there’s not much of difference between the two. Obviously, you don’t really know what you’re talking about,. But that’s excuseable. What is inexcuseable is condemning this Monkey to a life of misery locked up in a cage.

      • You must either be Ms. Yakhuda or a close friend of hers because nobody with a life would bother replying to every comment disagreeing with the column.

        • Actually, I don’t know Ms Nakhuda, I just happen to believe very strongly that Darwin should not be in a cage at the so-called sanctuary. I strongly believe he is better off being in a home, It’s called conviction and by the sounds of it, that’s something you may know nothing about. Your comment actually reeks of the same ignorant, dishonest, narrow-minded diatribe that have come from supporters of Delayne and the sanctuary. Makes me wonder if you happen to work for the sanctuary.

    • What lies! Please share a link to the video where she “gets mad” at the monkey climbing a door.
      I believe that you are refering to a video where Darwin is climbing around a door and chairs and when Darwin begins chewing on a leather chair Yasmin says “no”, holy shit is that ever getting mad! Imagine if all parents told their children “no”!!!

  4. Barbara, I love you to death, but I just can’t agree with you this time.
    You are the owner of two beautiful Hungarian Kuvasz, dogs who are intelligent, cheekily independent thinkers, and, (with sufficient training, an absolute must for any dog), obedient and loyal.

    The problem with Darwin is that at the end of the day, he isn’t a dog.

    Bred as he may have been to live the life of a pet, he does not have a temperament to make a proper pet. He has needs that cannot be fulfilled by his owners, nor his outfits.

    Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years; their behaviours and needs are well understood, and veterinarian care is abundant and established.

    This animal has not yet reached maturity (physical or sexual); I hate to think of what would become of him when he does and begins “misbehaving” on another level…

    • the truth is, AlyssaMoh, Monkeys are generally more intelligent than dogs and easier to train. Used to have one and also have dogs. I know what its like from experience, What happens to him at sexual maturity is the same thing that happens to dogs and cats and people. I’ve also raised teenagers – believe me, I know. It’s not the end of the world when that happens and they don’t exactly turn into the Incredible Hulk – maybe some Incredible Attitudes but that’s not reason to ban dogs, cats, monkeys or teenagers. And believe me dogs, cats and teenagers included also have needs we can never ever fulfill but that does not mean we cannot have them in our lives. And there are vets that will happily tend to a monkey’s medical needs, They get shots like our dogs and cats and if ever necessary, they can be neutered. (Too bad we can’t do that with teenagers but that’s a different topic.) And believe me, Darwin will not grow into an oversized monster. Its just not the breed. A lot of the negative hype over this is borne of ignorance and you will find that the loudest of them come from people who don’t even like animals, never had an animal in their life and know nothing about monkeys, either learned or from experience. The real isse here is that there are only 2 options for Darwin, It’s either he spends the rest of his life in a cage at a sanctuary or in a loving human home – the only home he has ever known until he was taken away from it.

      • If Darwin is neither comparable to a cat nor a dog, nor other type of typical pet, like a bird, or even the more ‘exotic’ pets like snakes, reptiles, perhaps this should trigger some second thoughts about what our boundaries are in keeping pets.

        As I said, just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

        I will point out that you refer to Darwin as a “breed” of monkey; There is no such thing as a “breed” of monkey. They are are in fact, a species.

        There is in fact only one species of cat and dog, felis catus and canis lupus familiaris; Breeds arise from the controlled reproduction to enhance or exaggerated physical characteristics, but they are all the same species.

        Many exotic pet owners believe they can ‘train’ these pets, but the reality is there are characteristics that are indomitable.

        I ask you this: If the monkey were considered a pet (and thus property) of its owner, and is subject to the same laws as any other pet such as a dog, what is your opinion of the animal being destroyed, as a dog would, were it to attack a human?

  5. B Virus Info

    B Virus naturally occurs in macaque monkeys. While relatively benign in its
    natural host, the alphaherpesvirus can cause rapidly ascending encephalomyelitis
    with a fatality rate of approximately 80% if spread to humans (through bites,
    scratches, splashes, or needle-stick injuries). B virus directly affects the
    central nervous system of infected human and nonhuman primates.

    In the macaque host, B virus causes mild symptoms that are similar to that of herpes
    simplex virus 1 (HSV types 1 or 2) in humans. These symptoms can include oral or
    genital lesions, but virus can be shed in the absence of lesions as well. After
    initial infection, the B virus can remain latent in the dorsal root of spinal
    nerves subserving the region of exposure or cranial ganglia of both natural and
    foreign hosts. B virus is transmitted from a host when virus is shed from
    herpetic lesions or the affected mucosal sites. How often or how long the host
    sheds is not yet fully understood.

    • When did this last happen in Canada & or the United States? When did a macaque or pass the herpes virus to a human G.G.?

      • happened in 2003 in a lab in the United States from a monkey that was used for testing….poor thing, and I am talking about the monkey!

    • I have lived with Macaque monkeys for 10 years. .There hasn’t been one case of a macaque born and bred in captivity or in private ownership in over 25 years that has tested positive for the b virus and there are thousands of us that own a macaques. There was one case from a lab monkey in 2003. Which we all know how and why he was in the lab and why he tested positive. So it is animal activist like you that make it become dominant statistics. The B virus does not naturally occur in macaques any longer. Please educate yourself before you continue trying to keep the public uneducated and fearful. Send Darwin home.. The male snow loves human interaction and does not choose to live in a troop by nature at all.

  6. GREAT article!! Well said!! Finally someone with a rational thought!!

  7. Unbelievably ignorant reporting. When that creature reaches puberty it will attempt to show dominance over ever male in the house, including her teenage son. It will view its female owner as a potential mate and will act accordingly! They become aggressive and attack without warning, it  happens time and again.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2192986/JayJay-pet-monkey-shot-dead-vicious-attack-owner-Florida.html

    http://www.petmonkeyinfo.org/testimonials.htm

    Firstly, this woman left her pet locked in the car while she shopped… 

    Secondly, this woman could not stop her “pet” from getting out of a locked cage inside a locked car.

    Thirdly, videos show Darwin trying to open the doors in the parking structure. He understands how doors work… he will not be caged for long unless by crueler means, such as shackles.

    After seeing those photos of the wounds these animals inflict… would you want her living next to you?

    Your empathy for a spoiled ape is… expected – but ignorant, childish and completely misplaced.

    Monkey’s are not pets.

  8. Sorry Babs, you’re off the mark here. Have a good look at the videos. She treated him like a toy and the you tubes show we was more than “barmy” she was negligent. She shouldnt be allowed near an animal. Babs, stick to what you know

  9. Barbara, you clearly do not know anything about primates, nor did you bother to do any research before presenting your story. Baby monkeys may be cute, however, once they reach adulthood, their internal clock switches and they are very dominant. Add the fact that Darwin will be much stronger and more agile than its human “owners” and the news story would be very different. Only a fool would take the cuteness of the baby monkey, overlay it with human personality traits and pretend life is a tv show.

    • since you seem to be more knowledgeable about Monkeys – do you have any idea just how big Darwin will be when he’s full-grown? Well, probably not and i think you just have no idea what you’re talking about. But please do not mislead others with your own ignorance. Darwin will not be any bigger than a shih tzu and he’s not going to turn into the Incredible Hulk when he sexually matures ! I’m not sure if your own internal switch might be telling you a different thing, but I can assure you, it doesn’t work that way for everyone.

  10. I agree with J.M below…he is a wild animal not a companion animal, and just because he was raised as a human, does not make him one, however he may currently act. As he grows and matures, his primal leanings will come to bear, and perhaps someone will be bitten or hurt by rough play. And Ms.Nakhuda was lucky that no one got injured at IKEA, but the future may be different…

  11. So… you’re good with banning wild cats, but an animal that’s almost impossible to contain, the strength to do serious damage to pretty much any human, and the natural tendency towards dominance of other primates in his area.. that’s not something a society should have any concerns about?

    You do realize that tigers start off awfully cute and harmless too?

    • you have any idea how much damage an angry rottweiler can do compared to a jack russell terrier ? do you have any idea just how small Darwin will be when he’s full grown? He’s not going be anywhere as big as a jack russell terrier… let’s talk about things we know about…

      • How big is a toddler?
        A macaque, if agitated and angry, has teeth and claws. It can scratch and tear at a child’s flesh.

        Interesting you brought up a jack russel terrier (JRT). I wonder if you were aware of the many cases where a JRT’s maims and kills a baby/toddler, disfigures smalll children, other dogs, or their owners.

        Size has nothing to do with it. It has to do with aggressiveness and behavior, and proper training. While a dog can go to certified dog trainers, who is responsible for training a primate? The owner alone?

        • AlyssaMoh- Your hyperbole is only exceeded by your unemotional callousness towards monkey and owner.

        • aha!!! Following your argument and the trend of your thinking, maybe we should take all jack russell terriers to the storybook farm sanctuary too ? I think it’s pretty obvious that nothing would make you happy than to see all these animals locked up in cages? is that it? Oh… just an after thought – JRT’s probably won’t be as good a “cash-cow” to raise more money for the sanctuary as Darwin has been so….

  12. Thank you Barbara! Finally someone with an ounce of sense! I would love to know how many of the people making absurd comments about non-human primates actually have experience with them? I have 3 monkeys, one of which is a rhesus macaque and the other two vervets. I have friends who have upwards of 12-14 monkeys. If you are going to make comments, please make them from being educated and not out of fear or ignorance. I agree with everything you said, Barbara and I cannot wait until Darwin is back home with his family.

  13. Heres a novel idea. Put the monkey where it belongs. In the wild.

  14. Why would she take him shopping in a cage and leave him in the car? If you are going to Ikea leave your pet at home because the chances are you are not just popping in for the odd item. The facts that the monkey managed to escape the cage, the car and enter Ikea and the authorities managed to call animal control, capture the wee mite and take him away all while the “loving” owner was blissfully unaware of what was happening speaks volumes to me.

    The owner clearly uses the animal as an accessory, a means to her ends as it were, so that renders her a very unsuitable guardian for such a special creature. Putting the creature back into her “care” would not be in the best interests of the monkey as it is clear that it is never about the monkey, just the attention that the owner gets for all the cute stuff she does to him.

  15. In response to PD who asked where the medical information came from regarding Herpes B in Japanese Macaques and the transmission to humans as well as simian foamy virus, etc – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Jan 2013), Viral Immunology Center, Georgia State University (April 2012), Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Blood Services and could go on and on. I think we need to take into consideration the expertise of the medical profession rather than someone who has “lived with Macaque monkeys for 10 years” and do not think you have to be an animal activist to be concerned about a community who would be exposed to this as well as her own children who are at risk.

    • you know…. throughout human history, we have seen this type of “fear-mongering” utilized by those who wish to impose their agenda on others. I hope the Storybook Farm sanctuary is not behind this… i’ve already lost so much respect for them as it is….

    • You are very right. And it was only Story Book that confirmed that Darwin did not have herpes. If he had, there would likely be some liability issues for the former owner.

  16. I am appalled by this nonsense.
    I already find it disgusting that you are insinuating that Story Book sanctuary is just using Darwin’s celebrity to get money. This is a great sanctuary run by people who actually love animals and care about them, unlike all the crowd of “animal lovers” who suddenly came out of nowhere because they saw a monkey wearing a cute coat and now are fighting for some ignorant woman to have her toy back.
    A monkey is not a human. His life will still be closer to what it should be when he lives in the sanctuary ran by people who know what they are doing. Have you ever been there? I doubt it, and so your accusations of them not being able to provide him a good life is invalid. They are doing a wonderful job. Monkeys are social animals, he will be surrounded by them and he will be getting a lot of enrichment in his life that someone who treats him like a baby can’t provide.
    At this age he can get easier through this change. And it is for the best. Do you know why he never knew another “mother”, a real mother that is? Because even though his kind stays with parents for several years, he was taken away when he was only 1-2 months old to be sold to some ignorant woman! This is what you should be against, not him being brought to a sanctuary.

    I really wish people would finally care about what is good for animals and not promote getting monkeys as pets or get dogs from breeders while there are so many abandoned ones dying.

    • “DOLLARS FOR DARWIN” ? That’s not exploiting Darwin”s celebrity to raise funds? C’mon, IB. Let’s get real here…. and how much of the money raised from that actually go into Darwin”s needs and how much of it is used for salaries of staff at the Sanctuary ???? I would like to know.

      • There are no salaries – they are all volunteers.

    • oh and by the way… Darwin would not be in a cage in his natural habitat as he is now at the sanctuary,

      • He’s not in his natural habitat though is he? He was removed from his mother after a few weeks, which is highly unnatural in itself. Some species of monkey stay with their mothers for two years. The exotic trade in monkeys, even if they are bred in captivity, is unnatural.

  17. Maybe she could get visiting rights ??

  18. I wonder what Emily Carr would have said. She is shown on photos with a monkey on her shoulder.
    Or should Darwin be deported to India or some other country of origin?

  19. The monkey is already damaged, like any child, who is exposed to ritualized abuse at a very young age. The word, sanctuary, means healing. I hope and pray Story Book can fulfill this expectation. If the “owner” of this wild animal is given a second chance, doors could open up to the exotic pet industry in pet stores and the internet. The thought sickens me. Then, there is the baby snatching. We humans are a sorry lot of enslaving.

    • yes, we should tighten anti-poaching laws but this does not mean we have to condemn Darwin to life in a cage at a sanctuary that is hardly anywhere near being his natural habitat. He was already in a loving home !!!! The one thing we know about “deterrents” is that they form the worse kind of policy and results in untold injustice.

    • Darwin is in a cage, but is taken out for play time, just as he was in the home. Didn’t he escape a cage in the first place to get out of the car at Ikea? His owner has a cage for him at some as well.
      The difference seems to be all in the outfits…

      • You know this for a fact? Then, you must work for or at the sanctuary, in which case, I think I understand now why you are adamant to keep Darwin in that cage at the sanctuary. Enough said then….

    • The irony here is that there those of us who feel that Darwin needs to be recued FROM that sanctuary. The images in the media should speak for itself. On the one hand you see images of Darwin happily romping around his human home and being hugged by his human family. Then , by contrast you see images of Darwin, locked up in a cage ALONE at the sanctuary, and in one photo, with Delayne standing outside the cage wearing blue surgucal gloves. I fail to see how the transition from a loving home into a cage is any form of healing, You add to the mix the blatant efforts of the Sanctuary to raise funds in Darwin’s name – (DOLLARS FOR DARWIN?) – then you have a concoction of greed, deceit and expolitation. I agree, we humans can be such a sorry lot.

  20. Monkeys should not be pets. He certainly was striking in his little coat at Ikea and seeing him brushing his teeth with his owner was amusing. Seeing him defrocked in a cage is a big change for him no doubt but he has other primate companions and that is probably better for him in the long run.

    • those primate companions will probably slaughter him the first chance they get… that is closer to the truth and the so-called sanctuary experts should know this !!!!

      • If monkeys are aggressive enough to slaughter each other if so inclined, wouldn’t this suggest that primates have a disposition towards aggressiveness?

        • ….especilly the ones that were rescued from labs, abandoned or abused, which as I understand it, constitutes the majority of primates already at the sanctuary before Darwin was taken there. Darwin was not in the same situation, He was not abused or neglected like the other monkeys. He was,n fact, pampered and well-cared for. If your concern is regarding “latent aggression”, you have to concede that all animals have this disposition. (Even people) But, to blow up this characteristic and turn it into an excuse to ban outright an animal is, I think, grossly unjust. Based on that thinking, we should be equally concerned about all other animals, inlcuding and specially big dogs who can inflict more damage than a little guy like Darwin.

  21. It’s really disgustingly fascinating how this issue quickly turns into a “crucify Nakhuda and let that monkey rot in a cage” forum. There’s even one comment about how that creature will assert dominance when it reaches sexual maturity, obviously coming from someone who knows nothing about Monkeys and who most probably never even had a pet in their life, but picked that up from some National Geographic program and spits it out here as their own “educated assertion”. This is an issue with large dogs too but there are remedies for it. It’s definitely not a reason to ban dogs and definitely should not be a reason to ban monkeys. And yes, this type of monkey is not a dog. It is actually safer to manage than a rotweiller or doberman. I know as we used to have a monkey like this and we also always had big dogs.
    Folks, keep your eyes on the ball. #1> We’re dealing with one specific particular Monkey named Darwin that happenss to be in a very specific and unique situation, It’s not about monkeys in the wild. The issue therefore should be what’s good for this paritulcar Monkey named Darwin. #2. This Monkey grew up and lived in a human home for most of its life, and was ndeniably pampered and well-cared for. #3> This Monkey has been taken away from that loving home nd put in a cage at a sanctuary. #4> The sanctuary is not exactly the Monkey’s natural habitat either nor is it really the ideal place for any animal to be. To explain by analogy, a sanctuary is like a “Refugee Camp”. It’s the next best thing for those who would have been in far worse places. Well, Darwin was not in a far worse place. He was in a loving home. And i just can’t understand why people cannot see that this Monkey is now in a cage and is not better off than where it was before. There has to be something terribly wrong with our sense of humanity if we do not see that injustice in that !!!!

  22. This was an illegal pet, which proved the owner has no control over it when it escaped. The owner is clearly irresponsible, and unfit for taking care of the animal. If she could take care of the monkey, then it never would have escaped so easily. She doesn’t deserve this pet back anymore than a drug dealer deserves confiscated drugs back. You can argue the rationality of the law all you want, but as long as it’s law, you have to obey it. If you make an exception for one person, then you have to for everybody.

    • Spoken like an a true “Law Enforcement” flunkie, with all the expectant ingredients… MInimal understanding of the law… lack of common sense wisdom combined with an over-bloated sense of self-righteousness… no regard for due process… lack of respect for the rights of others and zero sense of humanity… Yup ! Git R Dun !!!!

  23. you sir are a dickhead.
    How on earth can you say that ‘this is the only natural mother he has known’………duh!
    let him be a monkey, not a plaything.

  24. “Actually, no one asks for enrichment items except OISE graduates and social workers.”

    Well done, I’ve added it to my list of Classic Insults and shall look forward to chuckling over it all day. Ms. Amiel, thank you.

  25. Is this woman actually a writer? I can’t believe this unreadable tripe was published in a printed magazine. This issue was sent to me in order to entice me to subscribe. At first it looked like a good deal, but after reading this I couldn’t take the rest of the magazine seriously. Does Maclean’s have editors? From the first sentence, this piece reads like the work of a high school English student trying to fill their minimum word count.

  26. My understanding is that the city bylaws banning exotic pets was due to exotic snakes and reptiles were being dropped off at SPCA’s etc. and/or found abandoned due to people’s fads and the novelty wore off. I can recall it being all over the news that the spca, zoo and sanctuaries did not have the proper environments, skills, etc to take on the increase in exotic pets so some cities banned them. Those type of pet owners do not go looking for their pet and they don’t pay fines either as they chose not to be accountable and responsible for their pet. With Darwin the bylaw doesn’t apply as he was not abandoned or just a fad or novelty that was in need of a home and care. The owner Yasmin Nakhuda obviously is responsible as she has other pets, husband, children and a home and a career. She doesn’t abandon them or treat them as a novelty that wore off or disposable. Yasmin frantically looked for Darwin and has fought to regain full custody in the courts and she even paid the fine. Humans that genuinely care for their children and pets and have lost them in a mall or where ever, they frantically call hospitals, spca’s, put up posters and go door to door in search. Yasmin has done that and then some as she fights the sanctuary for her and Darwin’s basic rights in the the courts. Yasmin really should be honored for her inner strength, commitment, courage and compassion. She really should be acknowledged as an ambassador to spca’s, zoo, and sanctuaries as a role model that genuinely cares for exotic animals. The mayor and council really need to make clear the reasoning and make distinctions as to why the ban was created in the first place to the Judge and courts. The minutes of their council meetings as well as the media coverage on this issue just prior to some cities having to implement such a bylaw is more than enough evidence and proof for Darwin to go home where he belongs. The attitude and actions of the sanctuary seem so sick and creepy, a complete abuse of power. Due to the power and control issues its concerning as to what else is going on at the sanctuary. The sanctuary needs to find their moral compass and make appropriate amends by returning the monkey. And all monies the sanctuary has gained by exploiting Darwin needs to be given to Darwin and his family. This nonsense seems so crazy and criminal under the guise of ‘sanctuary’! There sure seems to be some leadership and management problems at the sanctuary – its scarey! There is something seriously wrong when a person Insinuates that Yasmin has sexual intentions towards her monkey son Darwin and that she must accompany cops, security and can’t be left alone with Darwin… we gotta look at where that’s coming from, what are they thinking, fantasizing…was it the lawyer or sanctuary workers or both ?!I People like that better not be working for the sanctuary and better not be sexually molesting the exotic….maybe launch an investigation into those beasts! Not only that those kind of insinuations and the acts of security means they are acting on the insinuation as fact as guilt of something which means Yasmin can sue their butts off and she should. Yasmin is a humane human not a criminal or guilty of anything but innocent pure LOVE! There is no monkey porn or anything like that going on except in some sick minds! Hopefully the Judge will see the mistreatment done to Darwin and Yasmin and make the sanctuary pay up and charge those that made the insinuations. Hate crimes should also be looking into this case as both the family and monkey are non-white and there sure seems to be a lot of hate and greed. As for the fine that needs to be reimbursed back to Yasmin along with compensation for pain and suffering of Darwin and the Nukhuda family. Canada was instrumental in the creation of the declaration of human rights-this situation seems to be such an embarrassing stain of ignorance, fear and hate! I just saw on tv that the Toronto Mayor is sticking around so hopefully he’ll be good for something and help get this immediately resolved where there is truth, fairness, equality and justice!

  27. You’re Nakhuda Bently, give it a rest

  28. It is a baby monkey and i think if she is willing to move to keep her pet (which she treats like a child) then let her have it back. Shame on the city and shame on the primate centre for making a difficult situation into. A circus. To make money from. They try to make donations to buy food for Darwin,if they cant feed the animal then give it back to its rightful owner who not only fed it but bought it a dam fine coat.

  29. There is a reason monkeys are ILLEGAL as pets. It doesn’t matter how ‘trainable’ they are, this animal was not bred to be domesticated. The poor animal never should have been taken from his real birth mother. The person who imported this animal needs to be jailed for animal cruelty along with the woman who has protected his identity all throughout this. The reality is we cannot let this woman get away with breaking the law. Then everyone will want a monkey, not having any idea how ‘wild’ they really are and the havoc they can wreak as adults. The opinion in this article is grossly ignorant and makes me not want to pick up another issue of Mcleans again.

  30. I would encourage everyone here to look up pictures of the cages and the state of affairs at this so called sanctuary.cages with spider webs
    Cages filthy with caked up feces electrical wires in monkey cages
    The list goes on. ..ms delany herself, although she professes
    To hate the underground ecxotic pet trade bought
    Her first 3-4 monkeys!! So much hypocrisy

  31. Barbara amiel- love your thought process and your way with words. loved your mcleans article-may we have another one . interested in your views-forgot to tell you it is Darwin the monkey and judges decision to stay at storybook primate sanctuary.no Solomon here I think I would have Darwin stay at a lovely monkey resort no 4 by 4 cage maybe something like northwood only a few miles away . what do you think..elsie

  32. Speaking of “bonding,”I’d LOVE to bond with a buxom blonde lass between 25 and 40,but that’s just me.Anyway,hopefully,Darwin and his owner/bud can be re-united without rhesus risks to Ms. Nakhuda or anyone else in Toronto.(After all,you’ve got the Rob Ford scandal to MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY occupy you.Two more reasons I’d rather be a lamp-post in Windsor,Ont.,my life-long residence,than the Toronto Mayor!!!!)

  33. Darwin had a good home and a large garden to play,’now he is behind rusty bars like a human is in jail Darwin did no crime send him back to his keeper Nakhuda

  34. DARWIN NAKHUDA BACK TO YASMIN

  35. PIMMS GO AND TELL OTHER COUNTRIES NOT TO HAVE MONKEYS LIKE A TOY
    AMERICA ARE FULL OF MONKEYS IN HOUSES AND SO IS RUSSIA AND FRANCE ETC ETC ETC.
    WHY ARE YOU ALL AGAINST NAKHUDA?
    FOR JESUS CHRIST SAKE A DOG CAN BE MORE DANGEROUSE THAN A MONKEY.
    LAST YEAR IN UK THERE WERE 5 KIDS KILLED WITH A DOG..
    I CAN UNDERSTAND IF DARWIN WAS NEGLECTED AND WAS WONDERING FOR HOURS IN SOME STREET. NAKHUDA WASNT GONE THAT LONG.
    NO, ‘YASMIN SHOULD HAVE THE MONKEY BACK’

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