I’m sure you have all been following the story of Darwin the monkey. From being a member of a human family to the center of a legal battle, this little monkey has experienced more in this past year than most monkeys experience during their entire life!
Darwin is a rhesus Macaque, an ‘old world monkey’ that is native to Southern, Central, and Southeast Asia. This species is able to live in highly diverse areas, and is no stranger to being around people. This is probably why Darwin was able to adapt to an entirely new living situation. The family who took in Darwin essentially treat him like one of their own children, from the clothes he wears to the food he eats.
The issue at hand now is about whether or not the family should be allowed to have custody of the monkey; whether they have what is necessary to care for him without jeopardizing his well being, or their own. The instinctive nature of these animals don’t exactly make them the most appropriate house guests.
Darwin has become something of a fashion icon, after walking around in the IKEA parking lot in a fashionable coat. Unfortunately, it was shortly after this that the owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, lost custody of the little primate when allegations were made concerning potential animal abuse and cruelty.
The legal battle rages on, and there doesn’t appear to be any indication as to whether Darwin will ever be able to go home to its adoptive family. This situation could be argued about for ages without coming to a definitive conclusion, but in the end what really matters is the well being of Darwin.
I have often thought about what it would be like to have a monkey in my house, and I can assure you that the image I have in my head and the more likely reality are very different. Monkeys are wild creatures who although possess an amazing capacity to adapt and learn by example, are still creatures driven by instinct. They perceive things differently than people do, and no amount of humanizing can squash out their unpredictable animal nature. I think perhaps the only pet monkeys should be depicted in cartoons, like Curious George. However, there are always different ways of analyzing an issue as complex as this. So, I encourage you to share with me your comments, critiques, and any thoughts that could help shed some more light on this situation. Just leave your ideas in the comments below.