A baby chimpanzee rescued from poachers was given a memorable flight to safety, courtesy of a pilot with Lwiro Primates and Virunga National Park.
Mussa's flight away from poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was filmed and shared on social media by pilot Anthony Caere. It shows Mussa getting some flying tips from Caere, a little bit of grooming and then taking a quick nap on Caere's lap. The two make quite a pair.
It's pretty much the most adorable thing.
As Caere notes, however, the video is actually bittersweet.
"This looks cute but is actually a sad story," Caere wrote in the caption for the Instagram video. "He should be with his mum. But happy we could give him a new good home!"
Lwiro Primates emphasized this point in a Facebook post as well.
"Rescues are always a mix of feelings...," the organization writes in the post, "happy because we are saving them but sad at the same time for what it means for wild populations."
The feelings may be especially mixed given that Lwiro Primates believes that Mussa's family is most likely dead, making the sweet chimp an orphan.
According to Virunga National Park's blog, Caere heads up the park's Air Wing, a collection of planes that provide a range of services, not just moving cute animals. The Air Wing provides anti-poaching surveillance, conducts censuses and transport repair materials. Caeren was featured in "Flying Doctors," a documentary series that followed three doctors who help rangers in Virunga.
Lwiro Primates cares for about 80 chimps and 100 monkeys of various species, according to a Lwiro representative in an email interview with the Washington Post. Mussa, who is healthy beyond some intestinal parasites, is doing well.
"He is laughing and playing, which is a very good sign for orphaned chimps," the representative wrote. "And he loves tomatoes!!"