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

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