Meet Anthony Caere, a Belgian who heads Virunga National Park’s Air Wing and serves as a “big brother” in the sky for its rangers.
Virunga National Park is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Caere’s duties include supporting rangers’ anti-poaching patrols, doing surveillance for wildlife censuses, inspecting poaching sites and carrying out medical evacuations.
When rangers find orphaned chimps, Caere flies them to Lwiro Primates.
Lwiro Primates is a rehabilitation center and sanctuary for nearly 200 orphaned chimpanzees and monkeys in Congo. The park serves as a safe place for orphaned primates to recover both physically and physiologically from the loss of their family.
During the flights, Caere refuses to put the primates in a cage. Instead, he gives them a seat on his lap.
“People ask me why I didn’t put Mussa in a cage during the flight… a baby needs hugs and compassion instead of being locked up in a cage during a stressful flight,” he said.
“We take the time to gain his trust, to feed him. And when he feels comfortable and he jumps on your arms and he holds you, then it’s time to do the flight.”
Caere’s Instagram is full of photos and videos of the park’s wildlife, as well as a few of the pilot himself with rangers and the rescued primates.