January 15, 2016 - 10:30 AM
A guitar donated by comedian Ricky Gervais to an Ontario primate sanctuary that houses the Ikea monkey has sold for nearly $6,000.
Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, northeast of Toronto, auctioned off the instrument on eBay.ca, with bidding ending Thursday night.
The winner was Danny Young, a 36-year-old man from the United Kingdom who said he stayed up sipping espresso until 2 a.m. local time to ensure he had the winning bid.
Gervais, an outspoken animal rights advocate, used the guitar while filming the comedy "Special Correspondents" in Toronto last summer and donated it to the sanctuary.
The monkey, named Darwin, made international headlines after being found wandering outside a Toronto Ikea store wearing a shearling coat in 2012. A city bylaw bans ownership of exotic animals.
The monkey has been living at Story Book following a court decision three years ago. His former owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, fought to keep Darwin, but eventually lost the case.
Nakhuda, who refers to herself as Darwin's mom, has since moved to the Kawartha Lakes area where she can legally own exotic animals. She told The Canadian Press that she now owns six monkeys, including Caesar — a baby monkey that fits into Darwin's old shearling coat. The real estate lawyer remains resolute in her belief that the monkey should be returned to her care.
Story Book said the money from the guitar auction will go towards building housing for two new Rhesus macaque monkeys, Cody and Pugsley, that are "being retired" from a Canadian university where they were used for research.
Young, the winning bidder, said he plans to make a video of himself playing the guitar with cutaways telling the story of the Ikea monkey and the sanctuary.
"I was already in talks with local animal welfare groups regarding a possible video raising awareness of illegal fox hunting activity, which I am very much against," Young said in an email to The Canadian Press following the sale.
"So when Ricky posted the link to the eBay auction and the article that explained the story, I felt like I was really in a position to help."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016