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Web superstar: Darwin the monkey becomes Internet hit after wandering around Ikea in a winter coat

Up until last week, a game of word association involving the word “Ikea” may have prompted responses like “furniture”, “Sweden” or, at a stretch, “meatballs”.

Since Sunday, however, it’s more likely to elicit a response along the lines of “stylishly dressed monkey in a shearling coat and diaper.”

This is all thanks to the rhesus macaque that wandered into an Ikea store in Toronto on Sunday. Dressed in a stylish winter coat (and diaper), it appeared to be looking not for a new shelving unit but for its owner. It’s thought the monkey escaped from a vehicle in the Ikea parking lot before wandering into the store. As you might expect, the appearance of a monkey in an Ikea store caused quite a stir among shoppers.

Separated at birth?

“It was pretty surreal,” Aurora resident Lisa Lin told the Globe and Mail. “I thought ‘Is that really a monkey?’ Who brings a monkey to Ikea?”

Another shopper, Bronwyn Page, grabbed her smartphone and tweeted some photos of the nervous-looking monkey. And that was it – the web well and truly fell for Darwin (that’s his name, apparently).

The #IkeaMonkey hashtag was soon trending on Twitter and meme makers around the world went into overdrive, posting their works of Ikea-monkey-related art on the Internet. And it won’t surprise you to learn that Darwin now has his own Twitter account with thousands of followers.

Although the owners have been identified, the fact that this species of monkey is banned in Ontario means Darwin will now be cared for at an animal sanctuary. Twitter user Ivor Tossell quipped, “Lawyers are working to free the Ikea monkey. They’re working pro bonobo.”

[Top image: Bronwyn Page]