April proved itself to be packed full of activity, with lots of highs and some lows. The start of dry season brought the sun out, volunteers are keeping in good spirits and enjoying the increase in temperature with way less mosquitoes! And as schools are functioning normally again, we even enjoyed the first visit this year from a group of local school children from Bello Horizonte. They enjoyed an educational tour from Douwe, while several volunteers and Geyler kept a watchful eye out to avoid any trouble from our more juvenile monkeys. A few days later we were gifted by several beautiful drawings of the animals at Esperanza Verde from the young visitors.
A sad month regarding our howler monkeys, regretfully we lost both Watson (juvenile male howler) and Armando (adult male howler) within a short space of time.
Many old volunteers will remember Armando from their time with us, since his arrival in 2019 he has dealt with numerous health concerns. Volunteers noticed one evening that his breathing had become irregular, and he was suffering with a fever. He was taken to the clinic, but he quickly deteriorated and sadly passed away the next morning. During necropsy it was revealed that Armando only had one functional lung, a condition that he most likely dealt with since he was very young and the acute infection of this lung meant Armando didn’t have much of a chance for survival.
Watson, who only recently joined us at Esperanza Verde, seemed to be doing well since moving to Lulu enclosure with Maida (juvenile female howler). Unfortunately, things went slowly downhill for him, he became very apathetic, stopped eating and was quickly losing weight. Every effort was put into getting Watson back on track and the volunteer team did a great job of pulling together and putting in the extra hours. Unfortunately, one morning we discovered he had passed away in his sleep.
However, there was good news for Maida (juvenile female howler) this month. She was making good progress in Lulu enclosure and was seen engaging with the outside woolly monkey group, most notably Lupa and Chiquita (adult female woolly monkeys). Following the loss of Watson, we decided to start opening the door of Lulu during the day, giving her the opportunity to explore the outside world and engage with the other monkeys, returning to the enclosure overnight. She seems to be loving her newfound freedom and is seen happily eating leaves and scouting out the trees around the whole centre. Darwin (adult male howler) was also moved into Lulu with the intention of the two howlers keeping each other company.
Another happy release we welcomed this month was of the three young male spider monkeys Ashuke, Miyo and Alessi. Their door is opened now each morning, allowing them to come and go as they please, there´s slow progress so far but the trio are gaining more and more confidence. Outside adult female spider monkey Katinka is showing a special interest in all three monkeys. Both Ashuke and Miyo have experience of life outside the enclosure so the hope is that they will assist Alessi with the transition.
Takido (juvenile male crab eating racoon) also took some exciting steps towards release this month. In the past months he has been taken on nightly walks along the river by volunteers using a lead, but towards the end of the month we were able to start walking him without the lead. Takido appears to be loving the extra freedom along the river route, occasionally disappearing into the bushes but very quickly returning. He also had a few encounters with Payco (free living, adult male crab eating racoon), engaging in a few small fights. Hopefully they will be able to establish a hierarchy between the two without serious injuries, to be able to coexist outside.
We would also like to introduce all of the readers to the latest arrival here at EV, whose appearance surprised us all. Yanay (adult female spider monkey), to everyone’s astonishment, emerged from under the volunteer house with a newborn baby earlier this month! She kept her distance from us for a few days and was very protective but has since become more comfortable in her new role as a mother and both her and the baby girl, named Yayana, are doing well. Mashi (juvenile male woolly monkey) and Dilana (juvenile female white fronted capuchin) have taken a particular interest and are frequently seen cuddling with Yanay and the new baby.
Yuno, the earlier released adult male kinkajou, has taken up residence in Aguatena enclosure once again. He had been sleeping near to the port and was being checked for wounds every few days by volunteers. This time he was found with some serious injuries to his tail and snout. It seems he had some more misfortune on the outside and encountered another wild kinkajou. He will remain inside to receive medication and recuperate.
SUST Animal Orphan Hospital
Thankfully this month we saw Biko´s release (adult large headed capuchin) from the SUSTOAH and his reintroduction to the outside capuchin group. His wounds had healed nicely, and he seemed eager to get back outside. He re-joined his band of troublesome friends Nando (adult male white fronted capuchin), Rayka (juvenile female large headed capuchin) and Cesar (adult male spider monkey) and has got back into his usual routine very quickly.
Igor enclosure has welcomed back some old and a new members this month. Chipi, one of our ruddy ground doves was moved to the SUSTOAH after it was noticed Chipi was not using one of their legs. Fortunately, recovery was quick enough, and after only a short stay, he returned to his friends. Pichu (white-eyed parakeet) and Picor (white winged parakeet) who had a long stay at the clinic, were returned to the Igor enclosure, along with new addition Minya (white winged parakeet). All birds are doing well and enjoying the extra space the enclosure provides.
We welcomed another new arrival this month, Sencha the juvenile female coati. She had been kept as a pet for the most of her young life and is estimated to be around 3 or 4 months old, meaning she is extremely tame and completely unafraid of humans. Her playful and lively personality, which is typical of tame coatis, is keeping the volunteers on their toes and our plan is that she will soon join Sumo (adult male coati) outside.
The quarantine building started to get less crowded this month as we were able to move quite a few animals out into their new homes. Rio (green winged macaw), Koda (blue and yellow macaw) and Zuna (yellow crowned amazon parrot) joined the Elmo aviary and Denani (scarlet macaw) moved into Pichu. All the introductions went well, and all birds seemed to have settled in nicely.
All 8 yellow footed tortoises were able to move into Momo enclosure to finish up their quarantine period, once it’s over we hope to move them into newly completed Rincay enclosure, joining Bronco the juvenile male capybara.
And as always when room is available at Esperanza Verde, it never lasts long before the space is needed again. We got to welcome another member in the family; Rufo, an abandoned green winged macaw with a broken wing. He has clearly been with humans for some time, as he loves to be petted on the head. He was found abandoned by his owners and brought to Esperanza Verde.
The improvements to Rincay enclosure were completed this month, the huge task involved replacing all posts and installing a more reinforced fence that will withstand the mud slides rainy season can bring. Rincay was previously being used to house non-climbing animals such as tapir and deer, giving them a large area to roam around in, with lots of leaves to forage for. This meant it was perfect for Bronco’s (juvenile male capybara) next step! He is loving the freedom the bigger enclosure brings and while he is no Michael Phelps, Bronco is often seen practising his swimming technique and loves to cool down in the big pond.
After Broncos move, the focus now is on finalizing the project of the bigger enclosures for the cats. Wayra and Gaia, our juvenile female ocelots, will be the first ones moving out of their temporary enclosure to finally being full-time together in a large enclosure enjoying sufficient space and privacy. Thank you, Susy Utzinger, for making this happen!
Things here at Esperanza Verde have been awfully quiet during April. On an unrelated note: Olivia, Kayla and Marlon were able to take a holiday this month, leaving Douwe and assistant manager Alex here to oversee things at home. The family are grateful to have some time to rest and visit family in The Netherlands and Olivia’s ongoing support while she is away is hugely appreciated. The team of dedicated volunteers will continue the good work and upkeep high standards and we´re looking forward to welcoming them all home in May!
In Olivia´s absence, Douwe has stepped up to the mark by hosting the infamous weekly meeting, his enthusiasm for these events comes across clearly and he seems to be enjoying his new role. He even took volunteers on a leaf-walk this month and shared his extensive knowledge of the flora growing around the centre. Volunteers perform leaf-walks twice daily to supplement the diet of the leaf eating animals (for example the howler monkeys), to replicate their diet in the wild as much as possible.
It was also Douwe´s birthday in April, and after a long day working at the Don Jorge plantation, he celebrated together with the volunteers around a bonfire and with a homemade birthday cake.