She’s finally starting to smile again, thanks to him.
Esake is a newborn bonobo who is just learning to grin again.
Given everything she’s gone through in her short existence, even the tiniest grin on this newborn ape’s face is a show of great tenacity.
Esake was seen traveling on the back of a bicycle late last month, going for a market in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Esake should have been bonded to her mother at such an early age. However, nothing had gone as planned.
Fortunately, someone observed Esake riding this bicycle and realized something was wrong.
They contacted local police who discovered that the bicycle was being driven by a hunter who was delivering a shipment of bushmeat. Esake’s mother had been one of the hunter’s victims, shot and killed with a poisoned arrow.
Often, the infants of killed apes are sold by hunters into the illegal pet trade. But Esake’s fate would be different.
Soon, a man named Héritier Mpo, a community partner of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), came into little Esake’s life, and her face lit up when she saw him.
Esake was instantly drawn to Héritier, but her adventure was far from done.
The staff at BCI were rushing to negotiate a spot for the vulnerable young orphan in a refuge with another charity, Lola Ya Bonobo — but getting there, via the bush, would be difficult.
“Transportation in the DRC is difficult and expensive, and we need to transport Esake to safety as quickly as possible to safeguard her health and safety,” BCI stated. “Bonobo rescues may be hazardous to people as well.”
Héritier was injured in a motorcycle accident while transporting Esake, yet he managed to keep Esake fully secure from harm.
“Esake has had a harrowing couple of weeks,” BCI wrote. “Although traumatized and weak, Esake began to regain some strength [and] flourished under Héritier’s care. She readily took to drinking from a bottle and eating fruit.”
Héritier and Esake’s adventure together came to an end when the tiny orphan was given over to individuals who took her to the Kinshasa refuge. She’ll grow up safe and strong here, among others her age.
“We are glad to inform that she arrived in Kinshasa on Tuesday and is presently settling well!” BCI stated.
Against all odds, Esake is now back where she belongs – and that is surely cause for celebration.