Ikea monkey still turning heads 5 years after finding fame

Five years after he became an international sensation, Darwin, the Ikea monkey, is still turning heads, but now at the primate sanctuary that he calls home.

The dapper primate now a 'gangly teenager,' but still quite shy, primate sanctuary says

Darwin, the Ikea monkey, is still shy five years after he became a viral sensation. (CBC)

Five years after he became an international sensation, Darwin, the Ikea monkey, is still turning heads, but now only at the primate sanctuary that he calls home.

Just don't expect to see him wearing the dapper miniature shearling coat that made him famous — he's grown a lot. 

"He is now four times the size he was when he came here," Daina Liepa of the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary told CBC Toronto. "He is incredibly strong. He is now sort of the equivalent of a gangly teenager."

Darwin has been living at the sanctuary located northeast of Toronto since Dec. 9, 2012, when a court placed him there after he was found wandering outside a Toronto Ikea store in a coat and diaper.
Daina Liepa of the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary says Darwin is 'incredibly strong' five years after coming to the sanctuary.

His brush with fame from that incident hasn't made him one to revel in the limelight, however. 

Sanctuary expected to grow

Today, Darwin now lives with 17 other monkeys, and he has taken a liking to two baboons he lives next to.

"Over the period of time they started grooming each other through the caging," Liepa said. "It's great for Darwin, and it's obviously something that's very unusual for two species to connect that way, but that's part of sanctuary life."

Darwin will also get the opportunity to make more friends in the coming weeks as the sanctuary is expecting to get three new monkeys.

Liepa says that although it may be hard to tell for sure, Darwin does appear to be content with his life in the sanctuary.

"People ask are the monkeys happy, and that's not something that is scientifically quantifiable," she said. "But what you can do is see a difference in the behaviour of the monkeys over the years."

With files from Talia Ricci and The Canadian Press