Two years ago, a monkey in a shearling coat wandering in an IKEA parking lot caught the public's heart. Well, he's back in the spotlight, this time appealing for a new home. Little Darwin is no longer diapered and he's no longer little.
After being taken into custody and away from his human "mother," the full grown Japanese macaque has come into his own at the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario. Finally Darwin has found a home, with two fellow macaques and other primates. He's discovering how to be a monkey among monkeys.
Trouble is, the 16-hectare volunteer-run sanctuary is at capacity and needs more space to accommodate exotics like Darwin. The sanctuary is hoping to move come Spring 2015 into the 25-hectare Northwood Buffalo and Exotic Animal Ranch near Port Perry, Ont., whose owner is due to retire.
Sure, he was cute as a button in his little coat, but people "[need] to understand that he’s going to live at least another 40 years if not more … there’s a whole life behind that,” said sanctuary volunteer and board member, Rachelle Hansen.
The illegal sale of exotics needs to end. But until people stop treating monkeys as pets, macaques like Darwin need to be re-homed, with their own species. At 45 pounds, Darwin is double the weight he was at the time he made headlines.
“When the media covered him, he was very sweet in his little coat, but they grow to full-grown size,” said Hansen. “Japanese macaques are the most volatile, meaning they’re very aggressive, they’ll fight with each other. This is who they need to be. You can’t diaper him.”
Dogs are pets. Cats are pets. It's bad enough when you see them riding in strollers and baby carriers. They may be domesticated animals, but they are still animals. Monkeys are cute, but they are not pets. Nor are they furry babies in need of a cuddle. If that's what you want, for mercy's sake buy a plush monkey - not a real one.
Can Darwin's winning charm inspire the public to contribute to the sanctuary's Indiegogo campaign, which has so far raised just over $9,000 of its $500,000 goal? To find out more about Darwin or to donate...