Ikea Monkey
A coat-wearing Darwin was found wandering in a Canadian furniture store car park.

The owner of a monkey found wandering in an Ikea car park in Canada has launched a custody battle against the sanctuary he was sent to by Toronto Animal Services.

Yasmin Nakhuda, who is accused of neglecting the Japanese macaque, named Darwin, alleges that he was illegally taken from her by animal welfare officials.

The monkey, who was wearing a fur coat when he was found, has been moved to a sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario.

The property lawyer insists she was pressured into surrendering the animal, which she considers family, after he escaped from her car outside an Ikea store. She is now seeking an order for the young monkey to be returned.

Nakhuda rallied supporters to protest outside Toronto Animal Services' office. "I've spoken to a number of people in the legal community and they do agree that there is no statute allowing the city to take an animal away based on the circumstances," she said.

She said that she, her husband and their two children were prepared to move to a city that allows residents to keep monkeys.

But the primate sanctuary insisted that Nakhuda revoked her rights to the monkey when she voluntarily turned the monkey over to Toronto Animal Services. In Canada, wild animals are owned by the person who possesses them.

"Nakhuda has no claim of ownership over a wild animal that is no longer in her possession,' a spokesman said.

Darwin became an internet sensation after snaps of him in a coat wandering around the store's car park went viral.