Where is the IKEA monkey today?
If you are of the right age then you surely remember the famous water of the cute little monkey in the thick woolen coat staring at the glass door of Ikea.
So 10 years have passed since he starred on every possible social network - and our monkey has grown and come a long way since then.
On December 9, 2012, the 6-month-old monkey was spotted at an IKEA store in Toronto.
An image of the Japanese macaque monkey modeling a trendy coat while staring wistfully/sadly at the glass door of Ikea has launched countless memes and given the monkey its unofficial name: "the Ikea monkey."
It turns out that since this photo the monkey has become a viral success, faced a controversial legal battle and moved to a new home.
So the Ikea monkey is now called Darwin and he lives happily at the Story Book animal shelter in Ontario.
"What did you do 10 years ago today?"
Story Book Farm wrote on Facebook, "Because our Darwin went shopping for Christmas and became a global sensation."
The IKEA monkey (photo: screenshot, Instagram/@LisaLin)
This is how he was reported on CNN a decade ago:
And we also reported on him then
Canada: a surprise at an IKEA branch - a monkey dressed in a luxury coat (photo: Reuters, editing: Michael Bergman, narration: Liron Barry)
Darwin's "success story" began when he escaped from a vehicle - wearing a diaper and winter coat - after being left alone by his owner.
From there, like every customer - he entered IKEA and got lost.
The local animal control team caught him and he was taken to the primate sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario.
According to reports, the woman who raised Darwin at the time was charged with keeping a prohibited animal and was fined $240.
She waged a legal battle to return him to her bosom - unsuccessfully.
Here he is today.
Wow, we wouldn't recognize
The IKEA monkey - 10 years later (photo: screenshot, Story Book Primary Sanctuary/Dai)
Dana Lipa, the volunteer manager at Story Book Farm says that Darwin "feels great".
"Today he is allowed to act like a monkey and not like a human baby as he was treated in the past," Lipa told BuzzFeed News.
She said that the woman who took care of Darwin treated him like a baby and that this is a very bad thing for any monkey.
When Darwin first arrived at the shelter, the staff gave him extra attention and food to help him acclimate.
Little by little, he calmed down and started playing with other monkeys.
Now he even has a very good friend named Maximus.
"He was insecure upon arriving at the shelter and felt the need to be the center of everyone's attention," added Lipa, "he was protected from the other monkeys until he got used to his new environment."
This is how it is reported today:
Lipa told BuzzFeed News that most of the primates that come to the shelter are pets that their owners gave up after they grew up or could no longer be cared for, retired lab animals or residents of unregulated zoos.
Story Book Farm currently has 26 primates in total - a mix of lemurs, baboons and Japanese macaques like Darwin.
"Darwin can go outside when he wants, to an outdoor enclosure with other monkeys — or stay inside with other types of enrichment activities we have for him," Lipa said.
His favorite activity is using old fire hoses: "He likes to swing back and forth and that's something he would do in nature."
A bit reminiscent of Ross's monkey (photo: screenshot, Story Book Primary Sanctuary/Dai)
Lisa Lynn, the woman who took the iconic picture of Darwin staring out the window, is happy to hear that the furry coiffure she chanced upon at IKEA is doing well.
"I will always remember Darwin," she said.
The Japanese macaque usually lives between 22 and 27 years so we expect another update on it in a decade.
We'll see how many things he can do until then.
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