TORONTO – The IKEA monkey is not going to be evicted.
Darwin the monkey – who shot to fame in December 2012 when he was found wandering outside a Toronto IKEA in a shearling coat – has been living at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary since a court placed him there.
But the sanctuary had problems raising money until a generous donor came forward to save the farm that holds 20 rescued monkeys, according to one of Story Book’s board members, Daina Liepa.
“We saved their lives once by taking them in,” Liepa said.
“We’re very fortunate that we have a follower of ours who has become a very generous financial partner to save them again.”
She said the sanctuary in Sunderland, Ont., northeast of Toronto, has been in limbo since the property’s owners divorced last year.
Details of the arrangement are sparse – Liepa said she can’t say whether they are buying the property or moving until a “real estate deal is finalized,” which may be as early as next week.
WATCH: Darwin ‘the IKEA Monkey’ and other monkeys need rescuing again as sanctuary faces closure
But she said the new money will also help pay for homes for two new monkeys that will be arriving soon from a university research facility.
Darwin became internationally known after he escaped from a crate in his owner’s car in an IKEA parking lot more than two years ago. Pictures of the young monkey in a diaper and coat quickly spread on social media.
Animal services captured the monkey and sent him to Story Book before his owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, sued the sanctuary to try to win him back.
An Ontario Superior Court justice ruled that Darwin is a wild animal and that Nakhuda’s ownership ended with his escape from her car. She appealed the ruling before abandoning it because it would have been too costly.
Liepa said Darwin is doing well.
“He’s mischievous, energetic and a typical adolescent,” she said.
“He interacts a lot with the other larger monkeys that are in his area. He’s healthy and happy, we think.”