TORONTO (AP) — The owner of a monkey caught wandering outside a Toronto Ikea store this weekend said Tuesday the tiny primate rarely left her side until he was confiscated by authorities — and she wants him back.
Yasmin Nakhuda said she initially tried to return the monkey to the breeder who supplied him, but changed her mind after hearing his heartbroken cries.
After that, Nakhuda said the pet she named Darwin was near her at all times, including while she slept and showered.
"At the beginning, I was told that was the best for him because generally, monkeys live off the back of the mom," she said.
"He always had to be within my view," she said, adding that he would "get into a panic attack" the moment she was out of sight.
The young monkey captured worldwide attention after he somehow let himself out of a parked car Sunday and ambled around the Ikea parking lot dressed in a fitted shearling coat.
He was eventually captured by animal control officers and was moved on Monday to a primate sanctuary about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Toronto.
Nakhuda, who was fined $240 for breaking the city's prohibited-animal bylaw, said she is consulting a lawyer to see if she can regain custody of the pet she considers part of her family.
At the very least, the Toronto real estate lawyer said she would like to be involved in his transition to the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, in Sunderland, Ontario.
She said she's concerned about his wellbeing at the facility, noting he has shown signs in the past of disliking his own kind.
Animal services spokeswoman Mary Lou Leiher said Monday that Darwin was stressed out but otherwise fine.