Does Darwin the IKEA monkey need a human mother?

The Toronto real estate lawyer who spent the majority of the last six months eating, sleeping and showering with an infant monkey named Darwin has put forth a deceptively shrewd idea. Yasmin Nakhuda’s comments came two days after Darwin escaped from her car in an IKEA parking lot and became the most famous non-human primate on the planet.

Darwin exploring his new home at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary.

Darwin exploring his new home at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary. (Darren Calabrese/National Post)

Darwin, as everyone from North York to Mongolia now knows, was eventually captured wearing a stylish shearling coat overtop a diaper. Video of his simian adventures went viral, and Toronto Animal Services sent Darwin to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, a highly regarded refuge for rescued and abandoned primates in Sunderland, Ontario, to recuperate and begin learning how to live with other monkeys. Meanwhile, Nakhuda was fined $240 for breaking a city by-law forbidding exotic pets.

Video soon emerged of Nakhuda – who admits to thinking of Darwin as her son – dressing the monkey up for Halloween, taking him to the office on a leash and brushing her teeth in tandem with him. Nakhuda is now taking legal action to get Darwin back home, saying she’ll happily move her family to Kawartha Lakes where monkeys are not prohibited in human homes. (Legally speaking, this is a bit like being charged with marijuana possession, paying a fine, and then asking the cops for your weed back while promising to move to Amsterdam.)

But before Nakhuda decided to take Toronto Animal Services and Story Book Farm to court, she offered up this sly suggestion during an interview with CP24:

“If I walk in that room, let him choose,” Nakhuda said, referring to Darwin’s new home at Story Book Farm. “If he chooses something else than me, that’s fine… if he wants to come to me, then I’m the one for him and I’m what’s best for him.”

We can all imagine the scene: Nakhuda enters the sanctuary, followed by an army of news cameras. Darwin lets loose an excited shriek when he sees his former caregiver. Monkey and woman embrace, thereby instigating the most emotional human-animal reunion captured on film since Christian the Lion. Public opinion is swayed by the sheer volume of tears shed, and Darwin is allowed to return home.

Darwin's destiny: An adult Japanese macaque

Darwin’s destiny: An adult Japanese macaque. (Wikipedia)

In fairness, Nakhuda does seem genuinely concerned for Darwin. At just seven months of age, he received constant physical reassurance from her, and apparently suffered anxiety attacks when she was not around. Unfortunately, her suggestion that Darwin should choose where he wants to live is patently absurd, and strikes to the heart of humanity’s perpetual misunderstanding of our ethical responsibility toward the animal kingdom.

Of course Darwin would leap into Nakhuda’s arms if she were to visit Story Book Farm. He would recognize her, and perhaps recall the comfort she provided him. But to mistake this reaction for proof that Nakhuda’s home is the best place for him would be to ignore overwhelming evidence and scientific opinion to the contrary. Ever since the horrific studies of Harry Harlow in the 1950s and 60s, we have known that infant monkeys are terrible at making good decisions for themselves regarding their own well-being.

Of course they are; they are infant monkeys.

“He needs his mother the way a child needs his mother,” said Nakhuda.

We agree! Darwin does need his mother. But here’s the rub (which I can’t believe this story necessitates pointing out): Nakhuda isn’t Darwin’s mother. Darwin was taken from his biological mother probably within hours of his birth. His real mother is likely long-since dead, or at the very least continuing to have her babies stolen from her in a breeding “facility.” Say what you will about Nakhuda; she is no Japanese macaque. Story Book, on the other hand, is already home to two of them, Lexy and Julien.

What Darwin needs now is much more than simply a warm primate body to snuggle with. He needs to be socialized with other monkeys of his kind as soon as possible, to kick-start the emotional and cognitive development that has surely been stunted by being raised in a human home. He needs to be fed and sheltered by people who have experience feeding and sheltering traumatized monkeys. He needs to be given the dignity to live like a monkey, however imperfect life in a sanctuary might be, because it’s only through providing a dignified life to animals that we demonstrate real compassion, and set good examples for our own children when it comes to relating to the natural world.

Darwin needs to feel safe and to be safe, to not be left alone in cars outside shopping malls.

It may not seem cruel to raise a monkey in a human home, but it is. It may not seem cruel to teach a monkey how to brush his teeth like a human, eat like a human or wear clothes like a human, but it is. Why? Because all of these scenarios are destined to end badly for the monkey. They will inevitably result in a profoundly messed up and confused non-human primate, a cross-fostered (and very large) adult with no sense of its own identity, psychologically traumatized, and with the size, strength, aggressiveness and incisors to act out on its condition with potentially catastrophic consequences.

And what happens when owners realize this? The monkey is either abandoned, sold to a roadside zoo or a research lab, or euthanized.

Much as our instincts may betray us to think otherwise, it is not our role to play mother to the animal kingdom; rather, it is our ethical responsibility to be its loyal custodian. Nakhuda may be allowed to visit Darwin at Story Book Farm, but let’s be clear: Nakhuda should visit Story Book for Darwin’s good, not her own. In time, surrounded by other monkeys and under the expert guidance of the staff at Story Book Farm, Darwin will be weaned from his human surrogate. And he will be better off for it.

Raised as a human baby, Darwin has to figure out how to be a monkey. (Darren Calabrese/National Post)


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37 Responses to Does Darwin the IKEA monkey need a human mother?

  1. Melinda says:

    Exactly!! So well said!

  2. Steph says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Very well written.

    (I admit, though, now I’m feeling a bit guilty about my dog. If it’s different having a dog, why?)

    • LESLEE WATSON says:

      It’s different with a dog NOW because we have, for sooo long now socialized them. We are now responsible to their care. Hence, shut down breeders. Take home and gift only from rescue centers. And like you said, “why the difference? … Not much. Only history. I cherish my dog. A rescue. Helping not hindering. ;-))

    • Lisa says:

      That’s a good point, and I have thought about that a lot with my own dog.

      The difference is that when dogs either naturally co-evolved or were selectively bred by humans (the jury is out), they lost what made them independent. Unless scavenging on human garbage, they do not survive without humans in the wild. Even hunting-dogs, in a pack, don’t do well long-term by themselves, if they only get to eat what they kill. A pack of dogs need to find and catch a lot of rabbits on their own EVERYDAY to survive, let alone reproduce and raise puppies.

      The genetic drives and instincts are just too diluted in dogs to do well under the law of the jungle. Their genes traded the ability to naturally look at what humans were pointing to and to be interested in humans, for the skills which lets them survive independently.

      Two great documentaries are Dogs Decoded and And Man Created Dog.

      You and your dog need each other, he not only idolizes you, he needs you to be his other half!

    • Paul says:

      If she moves to where monkeys are legal, give him back to her. Maybe all cats and dogs have to go to sanctuaries

    • cath hurwood says:

      in essence and philosophically it is no different with dogs ….only we (as a society) have long since removed them from their families and changed them in so many ways, through selective breeding. Although, I can’t see that collectively we have done them any favours by bringing them into our homes, they are here now and we owe them a huge debt of responsibility, which sadly is neglected on a regular basis. Witness the shocking numbers of domesticated companion animals killed in shelters.

  3. LESLEE WATSON says:

    Should never had been taken from his monkey mother in the first place. Shame on this woman. Shame. Selfish and disgusting.
    Leave this baby with the professionals that can reunite him with his own kind. This woman should be reunited with her own kind. In jail and fined just for stupidity alone!!!

  4. Jackie says:

    I can only wonder what prompted Nakhuda to purchase Darwin. Had she done any research to realize what the end result would be? Had she not realized that because of her own selfish motivations Darwin would not be able to be raised in the environment that was most suited to him? I agree, there is nothing cuter than a baby monkey, but I remember as a very small child hearing of a neighbor’s Rhesus monkey attacking her when it became older. Even at that young age I was able to understand that a monkey shouldn’t be kept as a pet.
    With so many children in need of loving homes wouldn’t it have been a better decision to adopt a child? To love, teach and nurture a child in need? To watch it grow to become a happy, productive adult?
    I truly believe it is in Darwin’s best interest to be among other primates and to learn how to be a…. monkey. Darwin as an adult monkey, living among humans is a disaster waiting to happen.

  5. Barbie says:

    Story Book farms is being harassed by other monkey owners on their Facebook page. I think its also important to point out that this sanctuary is NOT the entity that required her to sign over the monkey. The monkey escaped, animal control called, animal control captured him and had no place to care for him long term. Since it was ILLEGAL TO OWN HIM IN TORONTO she was required to sign him over or face prosecution. She signed and was fined!! Now she is trying to make SBF look like they stole him. All these monkey owners should be angry because people like her make them all look bad!

  6. Jen says:

    Dogs, at least are a domesticated species. Monkeys are not. They are wild and do not have generations of domestic conditioning to accustom them to life in human environments. We could of course get into the ethics of domestication, but for now let’s agree dogs make better pets than monkeys, for all praties involved.

  7. havenbounce says:

    This woman is showing why she shouldn’t really be a parent. She was not it’s parent nor it’s care taker (if she was he would not have been found wondering alone in a very busy parking lot. I can’t believe nobody has pointed out that this baby was taken away from it’s mother (it’s true mother) about 10 weeks to early. If this woman knew anything about the law she would see that she was breaking the law by OWNING a monkey and because of this she was putting it’s life in danger. The above story was very well written and hit’s the nail right on the head!

    • David Bernazani says:

      Darwin is a “he”, not an “it”. And please get your possessives straight: “it’s” is a contraction for “it is”; “its” is the possessive form for “it”. As in, “It was fed ITS breakfast”. It’s basic English; please learn it.

  8. While you write very well, you indeed do not understand the complexity of a non human primate and their make up. The Japanese Snow Macaque is one of the most unusal of all monkeys as they are shy and not monkeys that necessarily need one of their own kind. I have worked with them for over 10 years, males and females, and they actually make a very good companion for a person who is a responsible non human primate owner. While they might be large in size, they are humble in spirit. Now with your comment: “And what happens when owners realize this? The monkey is either abandoned, sold to a roadside zoo or a research lab, or euthanized.” This statement is untrue for pet ownership. The monkeys that are at roadside zoos, labs etc… were bought for that purpose. Monkeys that are purchased as pets, if they no longer can live in their situation, which could be for a variety of reasons, they are placed with another responsible owner or sanctuary that is equipped to handle non human primates that are human imprinted. Just because a “sanctuary” has a monkey does not mean they have the knowledge to care for the monkey and by the looks of some sanctuary’s, I doubt the care is adequate. Darwin has been placed in the pet trade through a breeder or broker. Darwin was brought into a human environment and was well taken care of and had enrichment. I am sure her mistake in taking him in a public place would never happen again, but to think of his life alone in a cage without contact is inhumane. HE CAN NOT BE WITH THE OLDER LARGER MACAQUES as they would kill him, he is not part of their troop. He is now doomed to live alone……..yes alone, with those in a sanctuary who fear unseen diseases, have no enrichment, as seen in the pictures, and a clearly uneducated staff about macaques. This story is sad, but my opinion is he would be better off in his young years to be with his human mother since he cannot be returned to his non human mother. Peggy Rice/owner and operator American Primate Haven

    • Andrew Westoll says:

      Peggy, I’m afraid I couldn’t disagree with you more. It’s hard to know where to begin with your comments. I think you need to reconsider your usage of the word “inhumane,” as there is nothing more inhumane than tearing a baby monkey from its mother just moments after birth, subjecting it to a completely unnatural environment, and then simply assuming that everything will be ok, when all evidence is to the contrary. Your business is propping up a completely inhumane practice – stealing wild animals from their natural habitats, or worse, breeding them for the pet trade. You are just simply wrong that no pets end up in roadside zoos, or in research, or being euthanized. No monkey should ever be a pet. Laws around the world are slowly recognizing this fact, and those who work with ex-pet monkeys can attest to the profound psychological and emotional trauma they have endured due to being cross-fostered. I’m sure you are a caring, compassionate person on the whole – I’m sure most monkey owners are – but I urge you to educate yourself more fully on this topic, instead of just relying on your own narrow experience. I agree with you on one point: sanctuary life isn’t perfect for a non-human primate. But when you consider the long-term well being of the animal, it’s a hell of a lot better than any of the alternatives.

      • Jennifer says:

        Excellent article Andrew!

      • Kat says:

        “I think you need to reconsider your usage of the word “inhumane,” as there is nothing more inhumane than tearing a baby monkey from its mother just moments after birth…”

        This has -already- happened. It cannot be undone. So what now? Maybe Peggy has a point.

        “…subjecting it to a completely unnatural environment, and then simply assuming that everything will be ok, when all evidence is to the contrary”

        Untrue. You have not seen all the evidence then.

        “You are just simply wrong that no pets end up in roadside zoos, or in research, or being euthanized”

        Also untrue. As a researcher, the animals are never pets. That would never be approved for a number of reasons.

        I just want everyone to understand that although this article has a good point, there are two sides to every story. The woman who has now lost Darwin may have been misinformed in choosing a monkey as a pet, but mistakes have been made that cannot be undone and she is also experiencing a great loss as she cared for him very much (clearly); a lot of you can relate because you mention your own pets. This article is written to be persuasive, not to be comprehensive.

        This is a very complex issue beyond most (if not all) of your scopes. I doubt anyone reading this article doesn’t -not- care for what’s best for this monkey. But many of you are just as ignorant as you claim Nakhuda has been. I support Peggy’s comment, she raises interesting points for what Darwin’s experiences could be, and cannot be ignored when deciding where is best to place this monkey. There is no perfect solution for Darwin at this point, so make the best one possible. In order to do this, you can’t ignore the evidence from -both- sides.

        • Nadia says:

          “This is a very complex issue beyond most (if not all) of your scopes.”

          Well I would hazard a guess and say that statement is true when it comes to the majority of those commenting (including Peggy), Andrew Westoll was a primatologist, who, on top of his training, spent a year living with and researching monkeys in (I believe) the Sudan. How is this issue outside of his scope? There are multiple sides on every issue but I would challenge you to find one expert (primatologist, zoologist, even vet) who believes that a wild animal would be better off with humans then with their own species.

          • Kat says:

            Was speaking to the comments being made; I find the article itself well-written.

            There is a sweeping generalization being made here and the fact of the matter is that experts in the field have varying and sometimes contrasting opinions on the subject. Most importantly, the issue here is context. The experiences of this monkey are irreversible so the question becomes “what is best for the monkey -now-?”. The option for this monkey to be with its own kind is not a viable option anymore (unless you want to traumatize it further). You can wish he were never removed, but that doesn’t undo it, and now -all- of the placement options for this animal should be considered.

            Bottom line: Primatologists, zoologists, and veterinarians would not agree (within -this- context/at this point in time) that it’s best for this monkey goes back to its natural environment. As far as its ability to safely resocialize with its own species remains controversial.

            So, I challenge you: find one expert that -would- agree that this animal (Darwin) would be better off soley with its own species. Even this article itself states there is still a need for an equipped facility and appropriate human assistance for this monkey’s overall well-being.

          • How do we know a relatively normal life as a macaque still isn’t possible for Darwin? Seven months is still young.

    • Jennifer says:

      Spoken like someone who seemingly has no knowledge at all of primates. Are you kidding me? Darwin is not Curious George. Can you actually foresee a positive outcome with a full sized mature male monkey co-habitating with this lady? If so, I am skeptical about your claim to ownership of the facility you name.

    • Kat says:

      Thank you, Peggy, for bringing realistic insight into this issue. I believe it’s important to consider all sides of this issue when deciding what is best for Darwin and make very good points. I think everyone wants to believe there is a perfect solution for Darwin, but at this point what is “best” is not possible.

      For the rest of you, it’s like saying “get rid of your cat, because we never should have domesticated them anyway”, as if they’d ever recover. Solution of best fit would obviously be to keep your cat and provide it with the best home possible.

      • William says:

        House Cats, and domesticated dogs have never existed in the wild. They are a product of cross breeding and have evolved over many centuries to be what they are today. There has never been “wild” german sheppards, or tabby cats. They were made by us a thousand years ago. Can’t compare dogs, cats, and monkeys…Not for a couple thousand years anyways.

  9. Liz says:

    You’re right Barbie. Animal control rescued what was a ‘stray’ who was so unsafe and at risk in the parking lot. She had left him in the car for over an hour. Animal control was lucky to save him and find a place. She willingly signed. Now says she was tricked?? A lawyer claiming she didn’t know what she was signing?

    I feel bad for Story Book farms. They are a non profit charity being pestered by other monkey owners though you have to wonder how someone from the US is so familiar with bylaws in Sunderland and Brock township. Hmmm. The previous owner claims that Canadians don’t understand?Hmmmm…And she still calls him a “child”.

    I am quite sure the people in Kawartha Lakes will not be so welcoming after this little media circus she has created.

    Good on Story Book for not stooping and for taking the high road here. Common sense will prevail, I am quite sure. Everything she says and is doing is just so contradictory.

    Support them

  10. I wouldn’t say the Harlow experiments showed infant monkeys were incapable of making good decisions, that seems an absurd thing to say. It shows that they become emotionally damaged if they don’t receive adequate parental care in their formative years but I would say the main thing it shows, pertinent to this story at least, is that humans are sadistic and unfit to care for monkeys.

  11. Melissa says:

    Oh Peggy, your answer is very American of you… “right to own”. Perhaps a sanctuary is not the best place – his original home is the best place…but he has no right to that now does he since she took that away from him. So i’m thinking based on your comment that your “sanctuary” is in your home then… no you say?…you have cages (as I can see). It also appears you condone monkey ownership stating…

    “Thank you for visiting our site. We are here to help you be an educated-responsible owner. We understand that life holds unexpected changes. When it comes to caring for or rehoming a monkey, we want to help you. As monkey owners, we have years of experience and know how to help you with your beloved companion.

    No person should own a monkey period. You are saying yes it’s okay that you ripped this monkey from its natural environment and made it your pet and now want to get rid of it.

    Interesting for a place that says they are a monkey rescue. Most places I know that rescue animals don’t agree with the people who put them in that predicament to begin with.

    Before you criticize Story Brooks offer to help the monkey while he is still young to become a monkey again, you should look carefully at your own motives.

    • Kat says:

      “Interesting for a place that says they are a monkey rescue. Most places I know that rescue animals don’t agree with the people who put them in that predicament to begin with.”

      Rescues are intended to be exactly what the word means. There is a whole industry behind the monkey trade, and the owners make a choice to purchase them based on whatever their individual reasons are. Although you’re entitled to your opinion (that I would probably agree with), rescues are not there to judge, they’re there to help with the situation at hand, regardless of individual feelings towards it.

      Peggy may have made an informed decision to own a monkey (perhaps she has a spinal cord injury we don’t know about, or some other disability) and we simply don’t have a right to judge because we are not privy to that information. The only thing that matters in making these decisions of what whether owning “right” or “wrong” is data, and currently evidence suggests that “it depends”. How is a something like a service monkey different from a service dog, other than that monkeys have greater potential effect?

  12. Laurie says:

    Really excellent post, Andrew. As a primatologist, I agree 100%.

  13. Msrci says:

    Do we not remember the primate that ripped the face off a woman in the USA a few years ago?!? They need to be with others of the sane species not touted as a pet or one that could be a replacement for something we are missing that aren’t receiving in our lives. Darwin needs to be with his own kind, not in someone’s home being treated like a human or baby when he is a primate. Sorry to sound so black and white but when we hear stories about wild animals tearing apart their caretakers or others it means they aren’t happy in the environment they are in at the time. Let them be wild in their own environment instead of being cared for like an extravagant toy or “the next thing to have because dogs and cats are so over rated and antiquated”.

  14. Gena Walck says:

    I totally Disagree!!
    Been working with exotics, mainly primates for MANY years.
    Both in private Homes, as well as refuge & sanctuary.
    If they are not running loose in the wild..then they are “Privately owned”!!
    Come on…
    Mom is probably dead?? Baby stolen from mom within hours of being born?? where does this guy get his info?
    This happens one place and then all of a sudden the world is guilty of it!!!
    Do you see” Puppies Stolen from mother” when you adopt??
    or when a baby is adopted by a you see ” Baby ripped away from mom hours after birth” ???
    Look at the whole picture!! In captivity baby primates sometimes have to be taken for many reasons! Can be lack of mothers care, mother can’t produce milk or care for infant…other monkeys in social structure are a threat…baby poses medical need or assistance..ect.
    Stop over exaggerating everything!
    You take what you THINK & what you really don’t know & run with it in the complete opposite direction!!
    Many monkeys in the “Wild” (whats left of their wild) are extinct or becoming that way..because of all the odds they face!
    Being poached, killed for food, or because their mother is a “Nuisance” in what was their land to begin with!!
    Other predators…lack of food in their region…fighting over territory because they are crowded due to humans!
    Taking their land is selfish, not offering them the best quality of life possible!!
    Their life span in captivity is much longer.
    It’s ok to pick and pry on them for research..but not love them and provide for them??
    They have provided so much service for paraplegic :
    I Have 3 of my own in which Im 100% dedicated! I don’t go away…they have a healthy, wonderful & spoiled life. They are respected for what they are.
    What needs to be done, rather then bashing private ownership & banning exotics..
    Is that all states make regulations & permit laws. Do frequent & random inspections to assure animal is being well cared for in all aspects!
    Education is the key!!
    When properly educated, which means “hands on”..many will not want the dedication and commitment!! The ones who do, deserve to have that right!
    Good example of a dedicated person whom raises primates:
    So do your homework before believing all that you read!!
    The sad part is..most of what this article reads is false..and people will believe it!!

    • Kat says:

      I’m glad to see more realistic perspective on this issue. People are filling in information gaps with make-belief and unjust assumptions spun from ignorance. Similar to breeding dogs and cats, designed “breeding programs” with the intention to produce more exotic animals as acceptable pets have been established for a while now. No one goes to the wild and decides they’ll take a monkey home from the Amazon and keep it as a pet (that’s like saying I decided to pick up a wolf from the Arctic rather than adopt a husky; note the difference: there is a difference between breeds that have been engineered for temperament and ones that come straight from the wild). The monkeys that are purchased come from a market developed (over time) for this trade. There is clearly a market for engineered monkeys and the actors within this trade attempt to meet consumer demands by producing behaviours best desired for domestic animals (which is why this poor monkey isn’t fit for the wild, or even a sanctuary; it is too far removed genetically and mentally).

      Although I agree she should be penalized for breaking a by-law, this wouldn’t even be news if she were living in another region (such as Kawartha Lakes). If it’s within her right under the law, she is entitled to provide a loving home for the monkey and assume all risks associated for positive negative behaviours (dogs hurt and kill people, too). Bottom line: regardless of pet, under the law people have a right to “own” animals, with that right comes the responsibility for caring for it in a positive way and assuming risks associated with potential possible behaviours. The woman is hardly at fault; if you’re going to point fingers, start with law and policy and the market/trade for pet monkeys itself.

    • Annabelle says:

      This happens one place and then all of a sudden the world is guilty of it!!!”

      This doesn’t ‘happen just once’. Logically nearly every monkey living as someone’s pet was forcibly taken from its mother. It’s just common sense – otherwise they would not be pets or they would have been much older when SOLD as pets – though most monkeys either stay with their mothers or leave to join another troop…. when they’ve matured and don’t need their mothers anymore! But they’re not as cute and easy too handle then, are they? Probably too ‘wild’ and fearful or uninterested in humans by then…

      “or when a baby is adopted by a you see ” Baby ripped away from mom hours after birth” ???

      Lol Are you freaking serious??

      Here’s a thought? A mother has to consent for it to be an adoption. If a mother does not consent, (as a monkey mother doesn’t) then yes, I think we can both safely assume that it would not be called an adoption but rather kidnapping and we would most likely be accurately saying ‘baby was ripped away from mom hours after birth’

      Until you can produce documents signed by monkeys consenting to handing over their babies for adoption by another species or some equally convincing way to demonstrate consent, then I’m afraid its not ‘adoption’ and is very much ‘baby monkey ripped away from mom and kidnapped by humans’….

      Hello? Do you even think about what you’re saying or what you’re using as an argument??

      “Many monkeys in the “Wild” (whats left of their wild) are extinct or becoming that way..because of all the odds they face!”

      100% irrelevant since these monkeys are purposely and intentionally BRED for PROFIT in CAPTIVITY and they or their mothers have never known anything other than captivity. Not that I think we should all run out and capture wild monkeys to save them from predators, poaching, etc etc.

      I’m not entirely sure if you were actually suggesting they would be better off if we did and surely you werent trying to have us believe that the reasons monkey ‘owners’ have pet monkeys is for conservation because some may be facing extinction….
      Right. Sure. Ok…….Whatever!!

      “It’s ok to pick and pry on them for research..but not love them and provide for them?”

      No, I’m pretty sure Andrew doesn’t think it’s ok to ‘prick and pry on them for research”. And clearly you really don’t get it. Like, al ALL.

      ” They are respected for what they are.”

      No, that’s the point. They’re NOT respected for what they are. Not at all. They are made to be, made to live as and treated for what they are NOT and their true nature and needs are in fact entirely disregarded and disrespected to satisfy the human ‘owners’ own selfish needs.

      All of this is based on seriously confused and misguided beliefs about what the monkeys are and what they need and what our place in all of this should be.

      You can all keep getting defensive about this as much as you like, it still will not change the facts. Sorry but that’s just the truth whether you like it or not!

  15. Beautiful and true. Thank you for writing this.


  16. Nick says:

    Nakhuda strikes me as terribly ignorant and arrogant in the way that our society seems to pride itself on these days. She disgusts me to my core, and I feel very sad for this poor creature Darwin. I hope she suffers a far worse fate than a meager $240 fine, and learns why this entire situation is atrocious to put a living creature through.

    • Nick says:

      I’ll say this too, having indeed encountered Japanese macaques in the mountains of Japan on multiple occasions. A friendly mature male macaque (who has had a life of people contact) will go from peaceful and shy to angry and aggressive quite quickly. I have indeed seen it directed at myself no less, and despite their small stature they’re quite strong and definitely something to be afraid of.

      Can a monkey be bonded to a human? Without a doubt. Do they still fight amongst their bonded macaque families? Most definitely. Not something you want in your house or directed at you. Nor should the animals suffer a fate as cruel as having their teeth filed or anything similarly awful. These are wonderful creatures and should live, love and fight amongst themselves. Not dressed up cute for our amusement because a dog was ‘too pedestrian’

      • David Bernazani says:

        Well said, Nick. It’s just wrong on so many levels to try to “domesticate” any wild animal, especially one so intelligent and social as a primate. Big anyone can’t see that, they are in dire need of a lot of education.

  17. moe says:

    perhaps those people who wish to own an exotic creature, be it a monkey or snake
    or chimp should perhaps visit those creatures in their own habitat before trying to introduce them into their own world. They hopefully would see that a house in suburbia or the city does not compare to a rain forest or jungle and would make the right decision to leave well alone.

    • Andrew Westoll says:

      I think that’s a great idea. Anyone visiting a monkey in a jungle will understand the mistake they are about to make.

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