When a rhesus macaque monkey was found wandering a Toronto Ikea store in December of last year dressed in an elegant, calfskin winter coat the Internet exploded. Photos of the sartorially savvy simian went viral, spawning no end of cute memes and even a few Facebook and Twitter pages in his honour.

The events surrounding quite how a monkey came to be in an Ikea store wearing a jacket were, at the times at least, garbled and quite hard to come by. The only indisputable facts were that someone had a monkey in a car, had bought it to an Ikea and, worried about the monkey’s ability to withstand the fierce winters of Canada, had made it a very handsome coat.

Well the monkey turned out to belong to a woman by the name of Yasmin Nakhuda, who claims she was tricked by police officers into surrendering Darwin (the name of the Ikea monkey) after he escaped from the crate in which he was kept during scenic drives.

Darwin, coat and all was then bundled off to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, a special place for monkeys. The story took something of a dark turn when a spokesperson from the sanctuary claimed that Darwin’s previous owner had “strangled him, hit him with a wooden spoon, and planned to have his teeth removed.” Claims that have subsequently been dropped. 

Yasmin Nakhuda has subsequently claimed that she is less the owner of the pet, more its “surrogate mother”, which is a little bananas if you ask us. Of course, in the eyes of the law anyway, the fight over Darwin is one of possession of personal property, not custody.

At the nub of the issue lies the fact that in Ontario and many other parts of Canada the owning/keeping of primates as pets is illegal, which is why Darwin was taken away in the first place.

However, Mrs Nakhuda has said that if Darwin is returned to her, she will subsequently move to a part of Canada where the keeping of monkeys as pets is allowed.

More importantly, let us hope they dress Darwin up in a little suit for his court appearance.

Image: Treehugger