April has been a month of festivities and finding numerous reasons for celebration. The rainy season has lasted longer than usual, and although muddier, it comes with its own silver lining, vibrant new growth everywhere you look.
New babies are always a cause for celebration and this month did not disappoint. Douwe had realised a few weeks earlier that Maruja (female adult Humboldts woolly monkey) was carrying a lot of extra weight. On closer inspection Douwe was allowed to feel Marujas belly and found it was full of arms and legs. Then, after disappearing for almost two days, Maruja apparently thought it was time to show us her new born son. It was a great joy to see her with the new baby attached, both doing very well. It is always a beautiful sight to see the entire woolly monkey troop come to view their latest addition. The baby appears in very good health and surprisingly rapidly aware of what is going on around it. We decided to name him Manok.
Our alpha male Humboldts woolly monkey Monano, and most likely the father, is never far away from the action ensuring the safety of the newest addition.
Payco the crab eating raccoon has settled into his new enclosure and, other than a small finger injury, is in good health and high spirits. Although he has a different personality to our previous crab eating raccoons (Rumani, Mokwai, Eona) we envisage evening walks for Payco starting in the next month. This is always a welcome addition to the day, with many volunteers eager to take on this fun and rewarding role. Evening walks are vital in preparing Payco for release, which is ultimately a decision he will make when he is comfortable enough with his outside surroundings. Eona visits him sometimes in the evening laying on his cage, and seemingly having whole conversations together, so hopefully they will make a nice couple one day!
Yanamayu, one of our enclosed adult large headed capuchin males, was not doing well in the Rimaq enclosure under the dominance of female Kres (female adult capuchin), who hardly allowed him to get to the food. With Kamayo (Humboldts woolly monkey) having La Sapa enclosure to himself, the decision was made to put them together (as they have been together in that cage in the past). Kamayo is dominating in the cage La Sapa, however, as his nature is very relaxed, we hope that the change of location will benefit Yanamayu’s health and give him an opportunity to put on some weight.
Often a favorite with volunteers Armando and Darwin are our resident Jurua red howler monkeys. Howler monkeys often require a lot more personal attention when they arrive at Esperanza Verde as they have special dietary requirements in addition to being very sensitive to stressful situations. Both Darwin and Armando still spend their night in the security of Lulu enclosure, before being let free every morning to roam throughout the day. This allows us to control their diet, feeding them leaves from the forest and vegetables in their cage, as outside they are more likely to eat foods which are great for the other monkeys but are not great for their dietary requirements. Darwin is doing great, and is a happy monkey, seen playing with several of the other monkeys, woollies, spiders and some of capuchins. Armando has a total different character; you could call it laid back or less social. We just hope it is the first, although sometimes we think the only thing he wants to do is lie around in the sun or be a baby again and lay in the arms of a surrogate mother, which used to be us! He does hang around with some of the woollies, who love grooming him and laying next to him. His weight gain is not very regular and gives us a lot of concern, we just hope that we really can teach him that you don’t need humans to make your life better and get him stronger!
SUST Animal Orphan Hospital
The new monkeys that were passing their quarantine time in the clinic were all moved by the end of the month.
One of our biggest concerns was the very young (large headed capuchin) male Kiro. To ensure his future well-being, we decided to take one of the outside female capuchins to join him in one of our outside cages; one which would protect and care for him, and hopefully will keep doing this after his release. There is no better monkey for this job than all-round experienced and first monkey (large headed capuchin) at Esperanza Verde: Mica, a female of now almost 11 years old. Mica was not all too happy of being encaged but with such a playful and needy youngster, we hope she will adjust and take care of him so he can slowly adjust to the surroundings and the outside monkey group before his final release. The first night might have been tough on both, but the second night they spent together Kiro was warmly on Micas back, a great sign that they are comfortable together.
The other three monkeys, Akemi (juvenile large headed male), Kiano, (juvenile white-fronted capuchin) and Kaluha (female woolly monkey) were all brought to the La Sapa enclosure. The enclosure is a now full with activity as Kiano, being the youngest and apparently the most playful one, jumping around and directly looking for some contact with Yanamayu. It seems to be a good change for both Moyo and Yanamayu, getting some company of their own species, while the enormous and powerful Kamayo learns how to share a bit better and become a role model.
The two blue and yellow macaws and the scarlet macaw will stay a bit longer in the clinic, while we prepare the outside aviaries for their introductions. We regularly have to renew some of their branches as otherwise they try to use our heads as one! Not an easy cage to clean, while trying to avoid their sharp beaks.
The three turtles will soon move to an outside quarantine (the Aguatena) where they will have more space and can spend the rest of their quarantine period. We are happy to say that the yellow spotted river turtle with the damaged mandible is gaining weight and it seems his mandible is slowly healing.
Construction and other
With extra rain comes additional maintenance and, although it was another month of no major constructions, it was a productive month nevertheless. Machico and Rolli were busy between both Don Jorge Finca Organica and Esperanza Verde cutting back the ever-present growth, maintaining land boundaries and ensuring the on-going food production. All three workers (including Geyler) also found time to plant a lot of new tree seedlings. This is an important on-going part of Esperanza Verde and one of the positives of an extended wet season, giving the new trees the best possible start.
This time a lot of young seedlings of the species, locally called Shihuahuaco (Dipteryx sp.), were planted. In the international timber market they are traded under the name Cumaru. This wood became very popular in the 2010s for the use of parquet for flooring. They are giant trees that can grow up to 60 m and the trunk can grow to over 2m in diameter. As only a few tree species do, the fruit of the Shihuahuaco becomes ripe in the dry season, which makes them an important food source for many local animals. The fruit is eaten in the crown of this high tree by monkeys (e.g. spider monkeys), bats, opossums and macaws, dropping the seeds under the tree while they eat.
Easter was a welcome change from the daily routine and although still maintaining a very limited crew, we were able to make time to celebrate in style. One of our workers Geyler, brought his family across from the village and the morning was spent painting and decorating eggs for the mighty Esperanza Verde Egg Hunt. Something for the children you would think, but Douwe and Geyler were as active and competitive as their (MUCH) younger rivals. Geylers eldest Sergio, was triumphant at finding most eggs as well as the Queen-egg, before everyone returned to the volunteer kitchen for a delicious special lunch prepared by Kayla.
What a month for volunteers. After so long with such a small team the month of April saw three new volunteers arriving and a long-awaited Alex returning to fill the assistant manager’s role. Two of the new volunteers were already living in Peru while both Alexandra and Jannick (who has been here as a volunteer in 2018) have made the trip from Europe. It is always so exciting to have new volunteers and we are hugely grateful that after so long the route from Europe is again open to travel (at time of writing).
April would not be complete without wishing Douwe a very happy birthday and this year was certainly a year for celebration with Douwe turning the mighty 50! The birthday boy had the celebration of his choice and had a bbq at home enjoying the perfect weather and company of his family (including Craig and Alex 🙂).