August 2023 Newsletter

The heat is intense and our volunteers are soaking in sweat, but their smiles never seem to dry up – thank goodness for that. The river’s almost crystal clear, an inviting sight after a long day of work. With a very low number of people all hands are on deck. The legendary bodega duo from Covid times – Craig and Olivia – is back, and Douwe and Marlon have returned from their vacation. But what we didn’t expect was welcoming 19 new furry, fluffy and scaly faces…


Diya and Talia (female brown capuchins) experienced their first safe encounters with the outside monkeys. Now they’re enjoying the wonders of jungle life. Daytona (female brown capuchin) swiftly took Diya under her wings while Talia is happily exploring her surroundings solo.

Our dedicated guard dogs (and cuddle-masters) don’t get a lot of airtime in our newsletter. They go about their daily lives protecting us from unwanted visitors and don’t often require extra care.

We were all gathered in the kitchen for our weekly meeting when we heard a heart-wrenching squeal. Rex (also known as Kayla’s dog) was left in our care as Kayla’s out exploring the world. Young as he is, he thought he could jump onto the Volunteer House roof, just like the monkeys. Turns out, he can’t. Oh, to be young and curious. He didn’t really ‘fly’ like a monkey and hit the ground with such force that he broke his front leg. He’s now under strict lockdown in the Family House. But his spirits haven’t taken a hit and his cast isn’t keeping him from trying to jump and playing around. You can imagine how thrilled Olivia is at the idea of staying home to babysit a very bored and excitable young dog… So, if you’re wondering why she’s hardly online, you have a wild little limping Rex to answer for that.

Susy Utzinger Orphan Animal Hospital

Zuna (yellow-crowned amazon) has recovered from her chest wound. Her homemade Elizabethan collar was removed and back into Elmo front cage she went. Easy sailing – she’s back eating and chilling with the others.

The clinic never stays empty for long – Afra (scarlet macaw) has lost a lot of weight, so she’s under observation and examination.

It’s a repetitive story of woolly monkeys checking into the clinic in a never-ending battle against Prosthenorchis Elegans. A beautiful name, for a beautiful worm that puts up an ugly fight leaving a trail of sick monkeys. Keska (juvenile female woolly monkey) is back in the clinic after she was found weak and dehydrated on the ground. We replenished her, but the case is a bit more complicated this time around. Sam (our resident vet) is dedicated to her treatment, and with the support of our veterinarian network across the world, we’re keeping our fingers crossed. She’s hanging in there, and has her ups, but is not yet out of the woods.

New arrivals

We received several calls for help….

The first arrival was a very young black tamandua (anteater). Due to being taken from his mother at such a young age, he hasn’t gotten antibodies from his mother’s milk – making it exceedingly hard to get him used to milk replacement. We’ve succeeded before, so we had high hopes. Sadly, our efforts couldn’t save him and he passed a couple of days after arriving.

We don’t get a lot of time for mourning, as there’s always someone else in need of a helping hand. We present to you Kelso: Another cute baby came, a two-toed sloth. At only a couple of months, he’s in the experienced care of Douwe and Olivia. Munching away at fresh and steamed leaves and adjusting to the goat milk Douwe brought back home, generously donated by the Emmi Nutritional Solutions International from the Netherlands. Thank you, we already have been able to raise several animals with your milk!

At the same time a crusty and very poor looking bird arrived, almost too hard to see the blue-headed parrot under it all. The bird was rescued by a concerned citizen who noticed it being kept in the most awful conditions. Sam and Douwe got straight to work. After consulting our vet net (veterinarian network) they started treatment. The scabs were coming off, food was going down and things were looking up. But its health took a sudden turn and the bird passed away. The exact cause couldn’t be determined, but we’re sure the root cause can be pinned on the distressing conditions it was kept in for far too long.

And then there was a big batch of new furry, fluffy, and scaly faces. Despite the increasing workload and decreasing hands to help, we still don’t know how to say no to animals. After all, there was space in the quarantine, and we’re the only rescue centre in the region. So, we welcomed 19 new animals: one small yellow-footed tortoise and three large ones, three orange-winged amazons, one mealy amazon, two festive amazons, another blue-headed parrot, two white-winged parakeets, one blue and yellow macaw, a white-throated toucan, a paca, a woolly monkey, and two tamarins.

The quarantine is packed and the clinic is certainly in full swing with fecal checks, vitamins and milk preparations but we’re doing what we do best, miraculously making it work as a team.

Volunteer life

Theres, a long-time returning volunteer and good friend of the family since their Ecuador days, stayed all of August. We were extra thankful as she has a nack for making everyone’s day easier. Picking up various jobs that often fall through the cracks. For many years Theres has dreamt of a small wooden house for the spider monkeys in the Rimaq enclosure. As a thank you for all her help, Olivia and Douwe made her dream come true, and named the house after her. Needless to say, both Theres and Lucio and Rimaq (adult male spider monkeys) were happily surprised.

Douwe and Marlon returned from their trip to the Netherlands and jumped straight back into work (and school for Marlon, of course).

With the fewest number of volunteers we’ve had in a very long time, we’re in huge need of help. If you’re thinking of coming back or staying for the first time, now’s the time!

Hasta pronto amigos!