Viral Video: Rescuers give News 8 the story behind chimp rescue - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Viral Video: Rescuers give News 8 the story behind chimp rescue

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – It’s viral video captivating people across the world – a chimp rescued from poachers and on Friday, one of the rescuers who helped get the baby to safety spoke to News 8.

Mussa, a baby chimpanzee was rescued from poachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after served 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.

The video, which was posted by the rehab facility last week, quickly went viral after it captured the Caere’s gentle demeanor as he nuzzled and groomed Mussa – striking a cord with people around the world.

Itsaso Velez Del Burgo, the sanctuary’s technical director, also made a cameo in the video when Mussa jumped into her arms at the end of his flight.

“I am happy because I think it can create some awareness, and in Mussa’s case maybe create some impact,” she told News 8.

Itsaso said Mussa was rescued from a nearby village after being kidnapped from the Virunga National Park by poachers.

“There is a huge traffic of baby chimps to China and Middle East because people think they are good pets, but actually they are not good pets,” she said.

Mussa’s family was most likely killed, but he is one of hundreds of primates rescued by the sanctuary.

“He is laughing. He is playing. He is eating well. He loves tomatoes – he’s crazy for tomatoes,” said Itsaso.

Mussa’s pilot, Caere, who flies rescue missions for Virunga National Park is also receiving attention online. His Instagram is filled with pictures of the primates he has helped save.

Mussa is recovering from a parasite infection which is said to be pretty common among animals kept by poachers.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

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