Indian couple, estranged from family, leaving everything to pet monkey

Shabista Srivastava, Shabista feeds her pet monkey Chunmun at her home in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state on Monday.  Shabista and her husband made Chunmun their sole heir.

Story highlights

  • Brijesh and Shabista Srivastava say they've made pet monkey their heir in will
  • Couple are estranged from their families, who disapproved of their interfaith marriage
  • "He's like our child. We can't stay away from him," Shabista says of monkey

(CNN)Should he outlive his owners, Chunmun the monkey could be set to be one comfortable primate.

An Indian couple who are estranged from their families say they've named Chunmun in their will as their only "child," bequeathing to it their house in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state, other properties and all their money.
Brijesh Srivastava, an owner of businesses including a flour mill and a cable network company, and his wife Shabista, a lawyer, are estranged from their families, who disapproved of their interfaith marriage years ago. Brijesh Srivastava is a Hindu; Shabista is a Muslim. They have no children.
    Shabista told CNN on Friday that bought Chunmun, then just a month old, from a roadside artist in 2005 after seeing the owner beat the animal with a stick.
    Though she and her husband have no children, Shabista said they take care of Chunmun like he's their son. She feeds the pet a diet of milk, dry nuts and fruits in the morning, and home-cooked food at night.
    "He's like our child. We can't stay away from him," Shabista said.
    In 2010 they had Chunmun "marry" another monkey, Bitty, and gave the pets their own room with air conditioning. The couple's home is fitted with railings "so he can freely move around the house," Shabista said.
    The couple didn't specify how much money could be coming Chunmun's way, other than to say they have millions of rupees in bank accounts. One million rupees equates to about $16,000.
    Besides bequeathing everything to Chunmun, the couple say they have started a fund that will raise money to rescue monkeys and build centers for their rehabilitation.
    "People in India don't care about animals, but I feel they are just like humans. They need love and affection," Shabista said.