Dry season has started here with water tanks emptying quicker than they’re naturally filled up. No worries though, as we’re in the rainforest, and surrounded by a nice stream and big river which we use to fill the tanks with in the drier months. It gives us also more opportunity to enjoy the surroundings, especially while washing the buckets at the small stream, taking a shower at the waterfall, or going for a swim in the main river. On the day of the local celebration of the Saint Juan, we went with the whole group to enjoy our lunch break at the waterfall, while eating the local dish specially prepared for that day by Kayla and friends: Juanes, representing the head of the locally famous saint.
Thanks to all the people who have donated and are donating directly to Esperanza Verde or to our partners in Europe. Esperanza Verde has managed, and will be able, to stay on top and to provide the best care for all the animals. Thank you foundation Jaap van de Graaf from The Netherlands for another great donation which helps us cover a large part of the animal costs already. Combined with all the help we have from our team in Europe and volunteers now arriving, we are confident that we can only move forward.
A special mention is reserved to our new quarantine. Although we had expected to inaugurate this beautiful new building, financed by the foundation Jaap van de Graaf, last year, it was time to get it ready. With the new animals arriving we ´decorated´ two of the 9 available cages for the first inhabitant: Punsho, a young male coati. We hope to be able to release him directly from of the quarantine, after which we will make the entire quarantine ready for full use. Thank you so much Jaap van de Graaf, to help us be better in our care for all the animals.
Kiro, (a young male large headed capuchin)and Mica (our first female large headed capuchin) were both released to enjoy the open spaces available to them within Esperanza Verde. While Mica was quick to resume her previous routine of keeping a watchful eye on Douwe, Olivia and family, Kiro found himself quickly playing with other young capuchins from our outside group, especially young male Biko. Kirois is under constant surveillance from volunteers to observe his habits and associations and other than a minor bite from our dominant female woolly, his behaviour and acceptance appears to bode well for a successful integration.
Payco, the male crab eating raccoon, has now been released. Initial attempts at walking and keeping an eye on him was hard to do, as he desired no guidance and had no interest in us being there, and quickly disappeared into the night. Payco’s confidence and individuality hopefully will ensure a successful release. Our experience with previous releases of racoons showed they often come back to the familiarity of their enclosure some days after initial release. So it was no surprise to see Payco after two days getting some snacks in his cage.
Armando our youngest Juara howler monkey has really come into his own in the last 8 weeks. Due to their special dietary requirements and ‘delicate’ nature our howler’s weight is measured weekly and this is the first time in two years where Armando’s weight has consistently improved for such a long time. He is showing also such a more playful nature which is so refreshing after his almost distant demeanour of the past.
SUST Animal Orphan Hospital
Both Ricuna (young female black spidermonkey) and Yauri (young male woolly monkey) successfully completed their quarantine period. They were ready to join Darwin and Armando, our male howlers, having the enclosure to themselves during the day, with the added company of Darwin and Armando during the night. From the outset it was evident both Ricuna and Yauri were enjoying the fresh air, sunshine and extra space. Outside monkeys are showing a lot of interest in the newcomers often with our entire outside spider monkey troop in attendance.
Wayra the young female ocelot is relishing in the attention and special care on offer at the family home with Douwe, Olivia and Marlon. Her diet and appetite has improved considerably in the previous month and is a credit to the hard work and persistence being put in by Olivia.
Selda, one of our female large headed capuchins, joined the male Yanamayu in the SUSTAOH, after a brief stint at freedom. Selda was returning to her previous habits of obsessing over Olivia and tapping on windows at all hours of day and night. Macu, our outside male did take an interest in her, but soon gave up, as she was completely ignoring him. So with Yanamayu being the only inhabitant at the clinic by the end of the month it was time to give him some company. He is still being monitored closely and we are still trying to get him to gain some extra weight. Rather than having to spend all hours alone the decision was made to give him the company of Selda. Maybe she can fatten him up a bit!
Rihana, the young female collared peccary, will stay a bit longer in the clinic, so we have ample time to prepare for her introduction to the other peccaries in the Noroc enclosure.
Construction and other
Rimaq enclosure, the home of our two largest male spider monkeys Rimaq and Lucio, as well as Kres and Apollo (female and male large headed capuchin monkeys respectively) got a welcome refresher this month. Having enough volunteers to help in the extra tasks, Geyler and Craig managed the difficult task of closing the monkeys into the front cage before rehanging tyres, new bamboo and general cleaning; giving the resident monkeys a welcome change of environment. As all four monkeys have spent a great deal of time with humans prior to Esperanza Verde it is necessary to keep them in enclosure for both their and volunteers ongoing safety. Keeping enclosures fresh with new obstacles and entertainment is essential in the ongoing health and wellbeing of monkeys within enclosures.
A job that was delayed last year, but high on the priority list, has finally started; the renewal of the entire volunteer house floor. A drawback of living in the jungle (there really aren’t that many) is that wood is directly affected by the high humidity. Room by room the volunteer house will now get new cement floor to replace the old wooden flooring. Thanks to the time freed up by the arrival of a great group of volunteers, Geyler, Douwe and Craig had the chance to work for several days in a row together to start the first room. Geyler and Douwe also gave the room an extensive clean and resealed all the walls. This along with the marble effect of the blue and yellow floor really gives the room a new fresh feel.
This month we had to say goodbye to our French contingent this month. Peggy stayed longer than she anticipated and her input was greatly appreciated. The official volunteer count at the end of the month was eight and it is a welcome change from the previous year. Once everyone is up to speed we can expect great things in animal enrichment as well as Douwe stealing any willing and able hands for any of the many projects that he always has on the go.