Rescued baby chimp becomes a co-pilot as he flies to primate sanctuary

Forget the Wizard of Oz — this flying monkey is both cuddly and cute.

Mussa, a baby chimpanzee rescued from the clutches of poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, looked completely at ease earlier this month while serving as co-pilot on the way to a primate rehabilitation sanctuary.

The pilot, Anthony Caere of the Virunga National Park, was transporting Mussa to Lwiro Primates in the city of South Kivu when the chimp climbed onto his lap. 

11 PHOTOS
Virunga National Park
See Gallery
Virunga National Park
Nzambonipa, a baby endangered mountain gorilla from the Nyakamwe-Bihango family, is seen within the forest in Virunga national park near Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, May 3, 2014. The world's remaining about 720 wild mountain gorillas live along the volcanic range straddling the Rwandan, Congolese and Ugandan borders. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)
Elephants graze in Virunga National Park near Lake Edward at Mabenga in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)
An endangered silverback mountain gorilla from the Nyakamwe-Bihango family looks for food within the forest in Virunga national park near Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, May 3, 2014. The world's remaining about 720 wild mountain gorillas live along the volcanic range straddling the Rwandan, Congolese and Ugandan borders. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)
A mountain gorilla looks out of a clearing in Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, near the border town of Bunagana October 21, 2012. The M23 Movement, the newly formed political wing of former M23 rebels, opened Virunga national park to tourists to allow the tracking of the rare mountain gorillas. REUTERS/James Akena (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC CONGO - Tags: ANIMALS ENVIRONMENT)
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, NORTH KIVU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - 2016/05/17: The insignia (in French) of the rangers working in the Virunga National Park. The parc, created in 1925 under the name of Albert National Park, has a 7,800 km2 superficy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park employs around 500 rangers who fight against poachers and illegal charcoal producers. (Photo by Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images)
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, NORTH KIVU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - 2016/05/17: Clarisse, a female ranger working in the Virunga National Park. The Virunga park, created in 1925 under the name of Albert National Park, has a 7,800 km2 superficy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park employs around 500 rangers who fight against poachers and illegal charcoal producers. (Photo by Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images)
CONGO - MARCH 18: Pelican, Vitshumbi on Lake Edward, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, NORTH KIVU, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - 2016/05/17: Two rangers working in the Virunga National Park, stand near the park entrance. The Virunga park, created in 1925 under the name of Albert National Park, has a 7,800 km2 superficy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park employs around 500 rangers who fight against poachers and illegal charcoal producers. (Photo by Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A timber market installed in the Virunga National Park in Kasindi, Beni territory in eastern DRC. March 26, 2015 (Photo by Fiston Mahamba/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
CONGO - MARCH 03: Lion (Panthera leo), Felidae, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
CONGO - MARCH 03: Hippopotamus or Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius), Hippopotamidae, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The two became fast friends, and Mussa was seen adjusting the throttle, cuddling with the pilot and enjoying the view from above in a video provided by Lwiro Primates.

It was much-needed comfort for Mussa, who is believed to have lost some family members and even his mother to poachers.

Mussa was so at ease that he even fell asleep on Caere’s lap.

After landing safely, Mussa emerged from the plane and into the hands of Lwiro Primates staffers.

RELATED STORIES:
Former Laboratory Chimpanzees Experience Life Outdoors for the First Time
Boy, 4, Shares Tender Kiss With Chimpanzee Through Zoo's Glass Window
Chimpanzees That Were Filmed Holding Hands Are Now Seen Kissing On The Lips

Read Full Story