The Ikea Monkey’s new life (without an overcoat)

Two years ago today an important tweet was sent into the world:

You remember it don’t you? The world went positively wild for that tiny monkey wearing a diaper and a double-breasted shearling coat when he was spotted solo in the parking lot of a Toronto Ikea. Darwin the monkey first made his appearance on Brownwyn Page’s Twitter feed on Dec. 9 2012, and we’d be fools (yes, FOOLS) not to honor this historic anniversary.

From that one powerful little tweet, Darwin’s 15 minutes of cuteness began, immediately going viral on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube under #IkeaMonkey. He remains the most dapper Ikea customer that ever was.

There was also this soulful shot of Darwin at Ikea which launched a thousand memes.

Officially, who is Darwin the Ikea Monkey? He is a young Japanese snow Macaque who found his way to the Canadian Ikea after slipping away from his then-owner, Yasmin Nakhuda. The sad reality is it seems Darwin was one of the animals embroiled in Canada’s rampant illegal exotic pet trade. The happy ending here is that Darwin was rescued and eventually taken to the Stony Brook Farm Primate Sanctuary where he still lives. A custody battle ensued with Nakhuda, but Darwin remains at Story Brook where he seems to be living a joyful monkey life.

He’s also grown up a lot! And is now three times bigger than he was when he sported that enviably smart little jacket while browsing for sectionals.  

These days, Darwin spends his time at Story Brook Farm Primate Animal Sanctuary where, according to volunteer Kim Meehan via Daily Dot, “he is now a healthy, happy youth, full of energy.” Darwin’s favorite pastimes are playing with his Curious George doll and snacking on cherries. And his two best monkey buds are Julien and Lexy. Can you imagine anything cuter?

Darwin is also the face of the Story Brook Farm crowd-sourced fund-raising campaign that hopes to find the money to relocate to a bigger space. According to their site, “due to a change in [the] human family situation. The sanctuary needs to relocate by spring of 2015.” They actually found an old zoo in Ontario to move to with 56 acres of rolling hills where Darwin could really spread out. There’s also two macaques already living there so big D would be in good company. 

Darwin is doing his part, even lending his name to a new hashtag (#DarwinsDream) aimed at grabbing more attention for the fundraising cause. But mostly, he’s chilling in his current home—fraternizing with fellow monkeys (though Meehan says he’s very “independent.”) and doing general monkey-like things that don’t involve furniture shopping.

“He’s like a teenager,” she told Canada’s National Post. “He’s bouncing around a lot, he’s very energetic.” Aw. That’s our guy.

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