A monkey wearing a tan winter coat with shearling trim spotted in a Canadian Ikea store might sound like either the beginning of a bad joke or an attention-drawing publicity stunt.
The Ikea monkey has become an overnight sensation. (Photo: dzd_lisa via Instagram)
Turns out, the scene caused at a Toronto Ikea Sunday involving a rhesus monkey first spotted wandering the store's parking lot was the (illegal) pet of shoppers who have since been fined.
According to The Globe and Mail, the diaper-clad monkey escaped its owners' car after unlocking its crate. Being directed inside by store employees and the police until animal services could arrive, the monkey caused quite a stir among customers:
Lisa Lin, an Aurora resident, had just arrived at Ikea, around Leslie St. and Highway 401, Sunday afternoon to make some returns and purchase Christmas cards when she noticed the activity. She immediately snapped a picture of the monkey and later posted it on Instagram.
“It was pretty surreal,” said Ms. Lin, 30. “I thought ‘Is that really a monkey?’ Who brings a monkey to Ikea?”
Bronwyn Page, a Toronto resident, was at Ikea buying a Christmas tree when she noticed the monkey. She said the small animal seemed nervous as it surrounded by a group of people, and made screeching noises.
She tweeted her pictures of the monkey, which instantly went viral on Twitter. Ms. Page received interview requests from media outlets across the city. Of her experience, she said: “I’m glad I took a picture. This day has taken a big turn. I didn’t expect it.”
Customer Stephanie Yim told the CBC she thought she was "going insane" when she first saw the animal in the parking lot.
Customers interact with the monkey that was described as frightened but tame. (Photo: Stephanie Yim via CBC)
"It would start 'monkey-screaming,'" Yim said, according to CBC. "It seemed like it was screaming around for someone [it] knew. It was sad.
Watch this CBS report with a customer's account of the scene:
The Ikea monkey has become an overnight Internet sensation and even has a Twitter handle (@ikeamonkey) and its own hashtag (#ikeamonkey). Here are a few of the many tweets regarding the monkey business:
The Globe and Mail reported the monkey being a bit alarmed at the attention it received, but it was reportedly calm with animal services where it was kept through Sunday night.
The owners of the animal, the species of which is illegal to own as a pet in Ontario, were issued a $240 fine. It is unclear if the monkey will be returned and, if not, what will become of it.
(H/T: The Atlantic Wire)