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LIVE ONLINE: The Ikea Monkey and Canada's exotic pets

Categories: Canada, Community

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A stylishly-dressed young monkey named Darwin, found wandering outside an Ikea store in Toronto Sunday, has captured the world's attention.

The "Ikea Monkey," as he's come to be known, has been dominating news headlines, Facebook status updates and water cooler chatter all week - possibly even inspiring some body art.

But, cute and funny as Darwin's story may be, it's turned a spotlight on the more serious issue of how exotic pets are governed in Canada.

The rules for which exotic animals can be kept as pets vary between provinces, municipalities and even neighbourhoods.

"It's just a complete mess right across the country," said Rob Laidlaw, executive director at Zoocheck Canada in an interview with CBC News.

Animal protection groups like his have been calling for stronger, more consistent laws on exotic pets across the country.

In Toronto, monkeys like Darwin are illegal under the city's prohibited-animal bylaw. His owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, was fined $240 for breaking the law but tells CBC News that she is consulting a lawyer to see if she can regain custody of the pet she considers part of her family.

The primate is currently being housed at a primate sanctuary northeast of Toronto.

We spoke to exotic pet specialists and animal protection workers about the legal, financial and health concerns that come with owning an exotic animal.

Joining us were:

Andre Ngo, the director of research and curriculum of Reptilia Zoo in Vaugh, ON

Camilla Calamadrei, the director of the documentary, "The Tiger Next Store"

Connie Mallory, the chief inspector for the Ontario SPCA

Ben Lovatt, Owner of Toronto based education/preservation program Earth Exotics.


Tags: CBC Live Online

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