Sunday, March 2, 2014

Story Book Farm Welcomes Decision

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary Welcomes Decision by Yasmin Nakhuda to Stop Court Proceedings Regarding Darwin a.k.a IKEA Monkey

Sanctuary assumes permanent care and ownership

February 28, 2014 

Sunderland, Ontario – Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary (SBFPS) is pleased to learn that Yasmin Nakhuda, the one-time owner of Darwin, a.k.a. IKEA Monkey, will not be pursuing her appeal regarding his ownership to the Supreme Court of Canada. 

With this decision, SBFPS now assumes permanent care and legal ownership of Darwin.

In September 2013, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that Darwin is a wild animal, and based on case law, Ms. Nakhuda lost ownership once he escaped from her car. The judge also ordered Ms. Nakhuda to pay a costs award of $83,000 (in addition to her own legal costs), of which SBFPS received $6,000 after expenses were paid.

Over the past 15 months, we have incurred numerous expenses as a result of Ms. Nakhuda’s lawsuit (such as court fees, transcripts and security costs) and the payment by Ms. Nakhuda of the costs award made in SBFPS’ favour has allowed us to pay off those expenses. Pursuant to the terms of our pro bono retainer of Kevin D. Toyne (which resulted in Mr. Toyne providing hundreds of hours of legal services without any cost to SBFPS), the remainder of the costs award has been split with Mr. Toyne’s law firm. 

Born in 2012, Darwin was part of Canada’s exotic pet trade and had lived in a family home in Toronto. He was found as an infant in a Toronto IKEA parking lot in December 2012 after escaping from his owner's car and later seized by local authorities. A social media and worldwide news sensation, Darwin has resided at SBFPS in Sunderland, Ontario ever since.

According to Sherri Delaney, founder of the sanctuary, Darwin’s story focuses much-needed attention on the sale of exotic animals as pets taking place across Canada. 

“Unfortunately, Darwin was imprinted by humans in his early and formative months which rarely bodes well for a monkey,” Delaney says. “When he arrived at the sanctuary, Darwin was very insecure and needed to be the centre of everyone's attention. He was sheltered from our other monkeys until he got used to his surroundings.”

Since then, Delaney reports that Darwin has grown in strides and is slowly but surely learning to be more monkey than human. He grooms one of his neighbours and has learned how to mimic other residents’ vocalizations. Darwin has grown in size and confidence as well, and was slowly transitioned towards having multiple caregivers who he can trust and love as his 'troop', as he had no monkey mother to assist in his natural development. 

 “Darwin now weighs approximately 11 pounds and when he’s fully grown, he will weigh at least 24 pounds,” says Delaney.  “This underscores why confining these animals in a human home is abusive, pure and simple.  With us, Darwin has been given the opportunity to be a monkey.

“With this matter finally behind us, SBFPS’s dedicated team of volunteers will ramp up efforts to address Canada's exotic pet trade and raise awareness of the untold harm countless primates are being subjected to,” Delaney concluded.

We encourage members of the public to visit Darwin’s Facebook page or sign up for our E-Newsletter to receive updates.

Donations for Darwin and the sanctuary’s 24 other residents can be made on our website

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary marks Darwin’s First Anniversary

For immediate release

December 4, 2013

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary marks Darwin’s First Anniversary

On December 10, 2012, Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario welcomed Darwin - dubbed "The IKEA Monkey" by social media.  In this past year, we have experienced the joys of seeing him grow from an infant who had not been socialized with other monkeys to a confident, intelligent, socially aware juvenile. As with other young primates, he needs to be taught by members of his “troop” – appropriate vocalizations, gestures and behaviours.  In the early months, milestones of his development were noted by his first attempts at grooming and vocalizing.  He was thrilled to have the opportunities to climb, jump and explore.  His area and enrichment are frequently changed, in order for him to develop new muscles and coordination skills.  He spends his days interacting with Sweet Pea, and Pierre (Olive baboons), Lexy and Julien (Japanese macaques) and his human caregivers. In this safe environment he is thriving, exploring, growing and learning. We are thrilled that he has now acquired his distinctive primate “voice”!  Darwin particularly enjoys stuffed Curious George monkeys, playing in water, eating dates and grooming Sweet Pea.  Darwin is also now reflecting behaviours, for instance, he takes Curious George to the tub for a bath, shows him where to drink and how to groom.  The staff of Story Book Farm would all like to wish Darwin a very happy anniversary! 

When visiting this fall, award-winning author and former primatologist Andrew Westoll stated:  “Darwin has literally come leaps and bounds since arriving at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary. He has shed his human clothing and begun learning how to be a monkey again. This, after a long year of court dates, groundless accusations and bitter acrimony, is an absolute triumph. And it wouldn't have been possible without the incredible volunteer staff of Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary."

On September 13, 2013, Justice Mary Vallee delivered an important decision confirming that Darwin will continue to live at the sanctuary. As a wild animal, his needs are those, not of a pet or pseudo-child, but of an intelligent, sentient, unique being who must be with his own kind. Unfortunately, this decision is now being challenged, yet again. This distracts and detracts from our vital work of caring for other monkeys whose lives were forever altered by humans who have used them in research, entertainment, as pets or for breeding to supply the demand for exotic pets. 
We would like to include a special and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us through this difficult year and continues to do so – it is encouraging to know that we are making a difference.  We are honoured that Liz Marshall, the director of the critically acclaimed award-winning documentary "The Ghosts in Our Machine" included Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in her film.  We are also grateful to Brent Roe and Scotch Camera, who collaborated with Pockets Warhol on the ground breaking Art Pioneers art show at the Gladstone Hotel.  Pockets, his joy of painting and art work have led to shows in Tallinn, England, Rome and Helsinki.

We will continue to provide Darwin with a high quality of life as he matures and grows. He is now able to live and express his behaviour as a Japanese macaque and fulfill his destiny that was established at birth.

If you would like to make a donation to support the work of the sanctuary, please visit our website.  You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube.

For media enquiries, and telephone interviews, please contact us at Unfortunately media interviews cannot be conducted on-site at this time.

About Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary
Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary (SBFPS) is a licensed, OSPCA inspected, sanctuary for primates who come from a variety of backgrounds.  The sanctuary is located approximately one hour north east of Toronto. Currently, we are home to twenty five primates. We, at SBFPS, are committed to educating and raising awareness about the plight of captive primates, advocate on behalf of primates who do not have a voice of their own and help prevent cruelty to animals through the operation of a primate sanctuary.  The sanctuary is staffed by experienced primate volunteers and community members, whose backgrounds include field work, sanctuaries and zoos around the world.  The sanctuary’s operating budget is approximately $80,000 per year.  We do not receive any government grants and are solely supported by private donations. We encourage the public to contribute to our work and to give a gift that keeps on giving. Donations for Darwin’s and our other residents’ care can be made at 

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary is a place of safety. We offer freedom from fear. We are a place of healing and recovery from trauma. In sanctuary care, we encourage friendships between residents. We encourage exploration and freedom of choice. We give back the ability to make decisions and control events that affect residents' lives. Our human caregivers exercise deep observation skills to help address the residents' wants and needs. We strive for humility and parity and look at each day as a learning opportunity. 

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary is a registered Canadian charity (84081 7910 RR0001)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gifts that make a difference

Perhaps today you, like so many others, realized it is one month before Christmas and less than a week to Hannukkah!  Are you looking for a gift that makes a difference?  One that helps change lives? 
Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary offers wonderful gifts that share joy with both the giver and receiver!
Is there a person on your list who has everything?  Give them the gift of being a Foster Friend to one of our deserving residents!  Starting at $50.00 a year, our Foster Friends program helps fund our important work of providing compassionate and safe retirement to monkeys in our midst.  Click here to sign up.

Is there an art-lover on your list?  Why not purchase a one of a kind original painting by the renowned Pockets Warhol?  Recently, Pocket’s work was part of a ground-breaking collaboration between non-human and human primate artists Brent Roe, Scott Cameron and Pockets at the Gladstone Hotel.  Pocket’s work will be shown in Rome and Helsinki in upcoming months. Follow him on Facebook too!
Looking for a $20.00 gift idea?  Our 2014 Calendars feature beautiful photos of Rudy, Rosie, Pierre, the lemur boys and family and other SBFPS residents!  It is a great way to bring cheer to an office or cubicle!

Is there a golfer on your list?  A four person golf package at Oak Ridge Golf Course in Whitby is one of the exciting prizes in our Raffle.  Tickets are $25.00 for one or $100.00 for five.  Click here to enter.

Is there a spa enthusiast?  A $100.00 gift certificate for spa services at Elixir Organic Spa is another Raffle prize. Click here to enter.
Looking for a gift to purchase directly for the monkeys?  Please view our Wish List. Most wanted items include Curious George stuffed monkeys for Darwin, faux fur items for Sweet Pea, hammocks and swings of various sizes and dried fruit and nuts.

Each and every one your gifts, letters, cards and donations mean so much! The sanctuary runs with volunteers and on private donations. All monies donated go directly to the care of our precious monkey residents.  If you would like to make a financial gift to the sanctuary this holiday season, you can do so on-line or by mail: 

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary
2315 Concession #10, RR#3
Sunderland, ON
L0C 1H0

 Thank you!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Facts - Squirrel Monkeys

Little Rudy Patootie
Today in Friday Facts we bring you information about squirrel monkeys.   They are shy, quiet and non-aggressive.  Rudy (affectionately known as Rudy Patootie) is a new resident of the sanctuary, approximately one and a half years old.  He has beautiful colouring and is thriving with new neighbours Cheeko, Pockets and Jenkins.  A sweet little guy, he loves jumping and playing with Cheeko.  His favourite foods are grapes, bananas and dried cranberries. In the warm weather Rudy enjoys being outside “talking” with Seek, Whisky, Minnie and Chili and enjoying the wind in is hair.

Did you know…

·         Saimiri sciureus is the scientific name of the common squirrel monkey.

·         Squirrel monkeys come from Central America and are arboreal primates, living in trees and rarely coming down to the ground.

·         Favourite foods are fruits, seeds, nuts, insects and small bird eggs.  If there is a lack of these items, they can survive on nectar from flowering plants.

·         It is only during infancy, that the tail of a squirrel monkey is prehensile. When they reach maturity, the tail is mostly used for balancing which helps them jump from one tree to another.

·         As with most primates, squirrel monkeys are highly social and live in close knit groups which can sometimes number into the hundreds of individuals. Typically they divide into male, females and youngsters and juvenile sub-groups.

·         Squirrel monkeys squeak and chirp and so far scientists in the field have identified thirty different vocalizations.  We are learning many of them at the sanctuary from Rudy!

·         Although numerous in the wild, deforestation and habitat destruction due to agriculture and tourism development as well as insecticide spraying are causing a decline in numbers.

·         Squirrel monkeys are small (approximately one foot in length) and “cute” so people wrongly conclude they can be pets.  The illegal capture and trafficking of these monkeys as part of the pet trade is of high concern, as it results in decimation of wild family groups.

·         Squirrel monkeys mark their territory by urinating on their hands and feet. Then they rub their limbs all over their body, leaving a scent trail wherever they walk. Scientists believe that this behaviour helps them track other members of the group, control their body temperature or is a form of self-cleaning.

·         You can become a Foster Friend of Rudy by visiting our website!

·         Foster Friends makes a great holiday gift!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary officially welcomes Darwin

For immediate release

September 13, 2013

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary officially welcomes Darwin

Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past several months and throughout this extremely difficult and stressful time. 

We also thank the Honourable Justice Vallee for her comprehensive and detailed decision, which we believe is the right result. While our focus has always been on providing the very best care that we can for our residents, Story Book is very proud to have played a part in shaping Canadian law and we will continue our efforts to influence how non-human primates are treated in Canada.

Darwin has continued to grow and thrive since arriving at Story Book last December.  We will continue to watch him grow and develop into the monkey that he was always supposed to be.

We would also like to thank our legal counsel, Kevin D. Toyne and David Meirovici of Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP.

Once again, thank you for your continued support. For further inquiries please contact us at or visit our website at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pockets Warhol Originals for Indiegogo campaign

Please see our Indiegogo campaign here!

There are 6 limited edition Pockets Warhol works of art on 12x16 canvas available for a $220 donation, with shipping/handling and applicable taxes included. Please see below for the artwork available, and it is first-come, first-served in terms of selecting the piece you'd like.

Thanks for your interest!!


Fruit Salad - SOLD!



Self-Portrait of Diego Rivera


Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Facts – Llamas!

It's Chili!
Happy Friday! Today we bring you llama facts!  Llamas? But they’re not primates?  At the sanctuary, we have other residents, including Minnie the donkey, Whisky and Seek the horses and Chili the llama.  Chili is a fun-loving llama.  He happily runs down the pasture and enjoys play-dates with his doggie friend Bosley.  When Bosley was a puppy, they would romp and play for hours in the grass.  They still look forward to their time together.  Chili is curious, especially when we are unloading groceries from the car. One day, one of the volunteers left her trunk open while unloading and Chili took it as a buffet, standing behind the car and eating the fresh veggies right out of the trunk!  He spends time near Pockets, and when I am giving the monkeys bananas outside, Chili always gets the peels, so everyone has a share.

Did you know?
·         Llamas are members of the camelid, or camel, family and are related to alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas

·         They are hearty animals, living high in the Andes Mountain in rough terrain where indigenous peoples have used them as pack animals for hundreds of years.  People also use their wool as it is very soft and lanolin free. 

·         People also use llamas to guard livestock from predators

·         An adult llama can weigh up to 250 pounds.  A baby llama is called a cria and weighs between 20 to 30 pounds. 

·         Gestation is around 350 days – almost one year!  At the time of birth all the female or Dams of the herd gather around to protect the birthing mother and her cria.  Birth is usually quick and problem-free, over in less than 30 minutes and done while standing.

·         Llamas are herbivores who graze on grass and, like cows, regurgitate their food and chew it as cud. They chomp on wads for some time before swallowing them for complete digestion. Llamas can survive by eating many different kinds of plants and they need little water.

·         If a llama get annoyed, they pull back their ears and spit.  Chili is a happy sweet guy, so that has never happened!

·         Llamas are social animals and prefer to live with other llamas or herd animals.  Chili enjoys being part of the SBFPS herd along with Minnie and Whisky.  He is still working out his relationship with Seek, as she is the new girl on the block.