If June was a month of creative animal management then July took it one step further with the volunteers having to work with extra effort and passion. It was a quiet month for new arrivals with only a few new faces turning up on our doorstep. This month also saw the yearly ministry audit and we are pleased to say that we passed with flying colours yet again!
July has seen a great deal of mood swings from our monkeys, as for many of the species, the mating season has started. Many of our hormonal teenagers have been pushing the boundaries, both within their group and with us humans. Monkeys seek to improve their social standing at this time of year, which can lead to a lot of screaming as they square off against each other.
There were serious considerations made to put both Loki and Samara (adult male and female woolly monkeys) in an enclosure this month. Samara had recently been showing the volunteers a lot of attention as she reaches sexual maturity. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this problem at EV and a great deal of time and effort is taken to do what is best for the monkey whilst taking human safety into consideration as well. Samara had started following volunteers around, making their day to day jobs much harder. Additionally, Samara had started following volunteers into areas of the forest where the locals, and their dogs, frequent, putting her at increased risk.
Loki has been going through a growth spurt, and if the extra bulk and muscle showing is anything to go by, he will become quite a formidable monkey in the years to come. With the volunteer changeovers that have happened recently, Loki had decided that this was a chance for him to move up in the hierarchy and had started trying to intimidate new volunteers and generally being far less cautious than he should be. Loki is so good with the baby monkeys, it would be a real shame to have him locked away. Rather than enclosing at this time we are hoping that with increased training and consistency on our part and by modifying our behaviour we hope that both Samara and Loki can have a long and fruitful time outside as enclosing animals is something we always try and avoid.
Having spent a lot of time in captivity prior to arrival at EV, Kres (female large headed capuchin monkey), has always been a monkey which would rather try and interact humans than with her own kind. She has always been the first one to show us the shortfalls of any of our security designs. Recently she has learnt how to remove the wire which we keep on our most secure cages. With this, and increasingly destructive behaviour around the EV, the difficult decision was made to put Kres in La Sapa with Apollo (male large head capuchin), Nando (male white capuchin) and Cesar (male spider monkey). It is never the aim to enclose animals unnecessarily, but we hope that this will prove beneficial in the long run as the three capuchin monkeys might build a “family unit”, and when they are released stand a greater chance at survival together.
Panki (male woolly monkey) was released from the La Sapa enclosure this month and it has been interesting to see the growth in his personality and how comfortable he has become in such a short time. Loki had been showing a great deal of interest since Panki arrived, so when Panki was released, it was great to see the initial comfort Loki provided. Male Woolly monkeys often spend a great deal of time with the young and it is great to see Loki practicing his paternal skills.
Grety (female margay) has been benefitting from the sudden influx of rats, getting a rat some mornings as well as her normal afternoon meal of chicken and organs. It is hard to say whether Grety gets more enjoyment from hunting for a dead rat, or from eating it. Needless to say, watching Grety play can be quite enjoyable, if you have the stomach for it! All rats are killed humanely prior to feeding to Grety unless they are ones foolish enough to have entered her enclosure and she has caught them herself.
Aeris (female opossum) is the last remaining opossum of our group of opossums that were released on the upper plantation. Although her door remains open 24/7 it appears she is more than happy with the arrangements as they are. Let’s see if August proves the month where she leaves her safety net and moves into the great wide world.
Rafiki (blue and yellow macaw) now has company. He was joined by an old friend from the Pichu (aviary) enclosure. At the start of the month Ermina (scarlett macaw) was found having suffered a fall, she is incapable of flight already, now had minor damage to a leg as well. After a brief stay in the SUST Orphan Animal Hospital, Ermina has now joined Rafiki as a permanent roommate. Both birds are benefiting from the private space where they can stretch their wings and recover, without the fear of falling from a great height or being grabbed by the other maccaws.
Pekka, Kiara and Siro (orange winged amazon parrots) have completed their flight training and been moved to the Pichu enclosure (aviary) where they joined the other resident birds, allowing them plenty of space to fly and experience life closer to the real thing. The ultimate aim would have been to release these magnificent animals, but unfortunately having been removed from the nest so young, these birds will never learn the necessary skills to survive in the wild.
SUST Animal Orphan Hospital
So few new animals until the end of the month was a welcome reprieve which allowed volunteers and staff more time to focus on the needs of the current clinic animals and any new issues as they arose. Just as the clinic seemed to go for a quiet period, a new arrival and an injured squirrel monkey needed some help.
Leo (male squirrel monkey) had been spotted a few days prior to capture, with injuries on his face and one of his arms hanging limp. Thankfully with a small amount of encouragement, Craig, our long term volunteer, was able to lure him into a cage. It was evident he had encountered a larger male and come off second best, leaving him with very bad injuries on his left arm. He was moved to the clinic, where he now is receiving treatment and will stay until he is fully recovered.
Mayla (orange winged amazon parrot) unfortunately passed away in the latter parts of the month, succumbing to an abscess in the stomach cavity. Sayani, (orange winged amazon parrot) spent a few days alone in the cage they had shared, before she joined the birds in Igor enclosure. As she (or he) has only one eye and never has tried out her wings, she has now time to strengthen her flying and landing abilities prior to being moved to Pichu, where she can re-join the group she arrived with.
Fonzo (male capybara) was moved from the clinic and now resides in the Momo enclosure. This is an open topped enclosure around the long-term volunteer cabin. He seems to enjoy the large space and his own pond. Fonzo is adapting well to the situation, which we are grateful for as capybaras can grow up to sixty kilograms, so having him friendly certainly is advantageous.
Mashi (male woolly monkey) is out of the small cage and now in one of the main clinic cages with Almira (female woolly monkey). They were initially separated as Mashi would cling to Almira for comfort using her as his mother, but Almira is not much larger than Mashi and not able to sustain the extra weight of another monkey. Although appreciating the company, Mashi is now more independent which gives Almira more time to play.
Smyke (yellow footed river turtle) has been spending time in the clinic over the last month, having been found floating awkwardly in the reptile enclosure and not being shy of people, which is rather out of character. She was found to have a swollen leg and after spending time in the garden at the clinic, was moved to the Aguatena. Smyke certainly looks comfortable in the purpose built enclosure and once healed, she will be moved back to the reptile enclosure.
Rino, Celia and Merida (male and two female White collared peccaries) were dropped off on the first day of the month. They were all very young, but were in good condition as they had been purchased by a very kind gentleman in Pucallpa wishing to save them from becoming bush meat. Douwe did a lot of explaining about how this kind of purchase just stimulates the trade in wildlife, however we’re not sure if this message was really heard. Douwe and Olivia have always worked hard to explain that we will never purchase an animal and that all purchasing, in the long run, does more harm than good as it adds to the illegal wildlife trade.
All three, Celia, Merida and Rino (two females, one male) spent some time in the SUST Animal Orphan Clinic being treated for parasites before being moved to the Rincay enclosure. This gives all three peccaries plenty of space to roam and the first contact can be made with our resident peccaries, Timo, Kohana and Roxanna, while having the security of a fence separating them.
Douwe and Olivia attempted to take a few days away from EV in the closing stages of the month, however you can take the grown-ups out of EV, but you can’t take the EV out of the grown-ups. A lot of their time was spent purchasing anything required for the centre, and of course, they weren’t able to go away without bringing a gift back for the volunteers, nope not chocolate! Tito (male Equatorial Saki Monkey), had been handed to the ministry in Pucallpa, so the timing was perfect for this little guy. He will spend his quarantine period in the clinic prior to joining Yuria (female Equatorial Saki Monkey), Ramon and Darwin (male Howler monkeys) This is great for both Tito and Yuria as they can be released at the same time. We hope that this will give them both some added comfort and confidence as they experience life outside at EV.
Construction and other
Construction on the quarantine certainly got a lift this month, with a dedicated contractor coming in to complete the cement layer over the brickwork making it waterproof and easy to clean when it is in use. later
The new bridge between the bodega and volunteer kitchen had its vertical supports sunk during the month, with Geiler doing a remarkable job in what is not the easiest of areas to work in. These supports needed to dry for a few weeks before the beams constructed last month can be added to the equation. Douwe envisages this project being completed early August, so stayed tuned for pictures!
This month also saw us receive a visit from a local volunteer group called, Voluntariado de Biodiversidad Ucayalina. A group of young people in Pucallpa started this initiative to help the flora and fauna of Peru and this month they gave us a generous donation to buy materials for EV. We hope in the future of few of these dedicated young people may also volunteer at our rescue centre.
You may have wondered regarding the opening comment about our volunteers going above and beyond. This month saw our volunteer count get down to five volunteers, including Laura. Several volunteers had to leave early due to unrelated personal reasons. Days off were given up and everybody worked well together. Douwe and Olivia were even brought in to do tours, which was a really nice change of pace for all involved. There is something to be said about working in a small team and a remarkable job was done by all those left manning the fort. The last two weeks of the month saw four new recruits join the team, returning some semblance of normality.
Anyone who has volunteered at EV in the last twelve months will know Laura the Assistant Manager and the difference she makes to the daily goings on. She is always very supportive, knowledgeable and keeps things pointing in the right direction. Laura finishes on the last day of the month and will be taking a well-deserved break before heading off on a new adventure. We all wish her well and she will be sorely missed.
July was the month when Kayla turned the magical 15 years old. A momentous occasion in South America and all those involved were treated to quite the affair.
A lot of preparation went into the night where very little was purchased premade, Kayla making a lot of the decorations, and Douwe making all of the more substantial items. It was impossible to tell decorations hadn’t been purchased, with the added satisfaction of knowing it had the personal touch. The entire family scrubbed up remarkably well, the guys looking suave and the ladies looking radiant. A great night was had by all who attended, and Kayla had the night she desired and deserved, looking beautiful the entire time.