The human "mom" of Darwin, the IKEA Monkey says she's "very hurt" by allegations she abused him.
The allegations come from Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland where Darwin has been living. He's been there since early December, after he was found wandering in the parking lot of a North York IKEA, wearing a tiny double breasted shearling coat.
A lawyer representing Yasmin Nakhuda dismisses the claims, saying they're an attempt to discredit his client.
The sanctuary claims Nakhuda strangled & hit the Japanese macaque with a wooden spoon. They allege Nakhuda, her husband & their 16 and 11-year-old sons all took part in the abuse meant to make Darwin behave.
Nakhuda insists she never hit the monkey. She believes the accusations come from a letter she wrote to the owner of a monkey-care website, looking for help to stop Darwin from biting.
Nakhuda had been using a method shown to her by the breeder she bought the monkey from. She admits she wasn't thrilled about it & was looking for alternatives.
The discipline regime starts with picking the monkey up by the scruff of the neck, like cats & dogs often carry their young. Nakhuda says this calms monkeys down. Next, the punishment for the behaviour--three little raps on the side of the nose, followed by praise.
Nakhuda says she would sometimes also use a wooden spoon to get Darwin's attention if he was darting around, but insists she never hit him with it.
She detailed her methods in e-mails to Monkeypro.com owner Lisa Whiteaker. Nakhuda says Whiteaker seemed to misinterpret her letters, stressing to her that monkeys should never be hit.
Nakhuda is convinced that Whiteaker sold the letters to Story Book Farm for her own financial gain.
Nakhuda will back in court January 31st in her bid to bring Darwin home.
(With files from The Canadian Press)