December 2021 Newsletter


We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and enjoyed a nice evening before saying hello to the new year! Although many are having to deal with new outbreaks and Covid restrictions, let’s hope for the best and get it started well…. We sure will try here at Esperanza Verde!

Esperanza Verde could not do it without all your support, if it is financial, in materials, in knowledge, in labour or morally…. The combination of it all is what brings future to so many of these animals and their environment that are in need of saving.



It was finally time for Ashuke (young male black spider monkey) and Rasu (young male, large headed capuchin) to get a taste of the outside world. For Rasu it went rather quickly, he was out and within a few days he was already hanging with the other juvenile capuchins of the outside group.
Ashuke doesn’t have quite the same social skills… He was quickly out of the enclosure, but has remained close to it every day. He goes back inside in the afternoon to eat and sleep. Some monkeys are just slower than others to adapt to change, like in humans……, so we remain patient. We are sure he will find his way and, as always, Yanay the biggest female spider monkey does her best to help him.

After some time in the clinic Panchin (juvenile male Humboldt’s woolly monkey), had recovered from a broken leg, and joined Ashuke, Rasu and Darwin (male howler monkey) in the Lulu enclosure. His leg has healed remarkably well. After spending a bit of time in the enclosure to strengthen his muscles, he was ready for the outside again, where he quickly joined the daily ritual of young monkeys running and playing.

Darwin, our 4-year-old male howler monkey who was residing in Lulu enclosure has had a busy month! We always try our best to look for the best living conditions for both humans as animals, and Darwin had always been doing so well, we felt he deserved another chance to be outside again. He started of running around and happily howling in the trees. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long till he decided to try and dominate a recently arrived volunteer, by biting him on the leg. Our assistant manager Alex quickly intervened and to avoid any further risks we had to decide, yet again, to return him to an enclosure. A very sad thing for all of us too as he was such a beautiful sight howling outside in the trees.

For now, Darwin will be residing again in the Lulu-enclosure, being joined now and then by other monkeys. This month, he was also joined by a few new comers from out of the quarantine: Keska and Tasha (juvenile female Humboldt’s woolly monkeys) and Maida (juvenile female howler monkey). Keska and Tasha stayed a few weeks in Lulu to get acquainted with the outside monkeys before being released. Keska was the first to go, and then Tasha followed, both directly going high up in the trees to get some fresh leaves. The outside monkeys have been great in including them into their group. Maida is still very young and will stay with Darwin a while longer.

The very sad news this month was the unexpected death of our alpha woolly monkey male Monano. We noticed he had gone missing and, although we searched for him, it wasn´t until a few days later when we noticed a bad smell that we found him. He had already begun decomposing so we could not determine what happened to him. We suspect, as he has been struggling with the parasite P. Elegans, his death might have been the result of a perforation of the intestines. He will be missed dearly, as he had the whole group of monkeys under control with a calmness that was beautiful to see, and with a mutual respect between him and us.

Otis (adult male Ma’s night monkey) has been under surveillance for some time as he has not really been keeping the weight he should. After further examination we discovered that an old wound on his knee never properly healed which may have caused further problems in his joint as well as muscles of his leg. He is now in the Lucia enclosure where he is receiving our full attention on a daily basis, being treated with a warm compress and some physiotherapy for his leg.

Igor, the enclosure for non-releasable birds, has been fully renovated, with new branches, leaves and sand. All the birds were temporarily moved to the Tupak enclosure giving Douwe and the team free reign in Igor, without the fear of unnecessary stress or unwanted releases. All birds went via the SUSTOAH undergoing a thorough check up. Most birds got a thumbs up but Pichu (white-eyed parakeet) was placed together with Delta (orange winged amazon) for observation as she was found a bit too skinny.

Gaia and Wayra (juvenile female ocelots) have taken their next step towards becoming “roommates”. So far, they have lived in separate enclosures. And to be able to introduce them in the near future we need to get them familiar with each other first. It can be a bit complicated work, we have to switch them every day in between the enclosures so they get used to each other’s scents. For the future new and bigger enclosures are already in the plans and we are so happy and grateful to the Susy Utzinger Stiftung in Switzerland as they started a crowd funding campaign for this project. Thank you again for all your help Susy!

SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

Picor (white winged parakeet) was found this month with a wounded foot. He was brought to the clinic where he got examined and treated. He got to reside in the clinic for another week but was then brought back to the other birds in the freshly renovated Igor enclosure.

Delta (orange winged amazon) is now in the SUSTOAH again. She has been having trouble with her eyes and suspecting it being sinusitis she was treated with a nasal flush. She seems to be getting a bit better and is again gaining weight.

She then was joined by Pichu, one of the white-eyed parakeets, and as soon as both have gained weight, they can join the others in the Igor enclosure again.

Asuki, the young dusky headed parakeet, received a name change to Kentaro. The name was just a bit too much like the name of the young spidermonkey Ashuke. Kentaro was ready to fly, and before the birds got back into the Igor enclosure, we gave him the opportunity to explore the cage for 24 hours.

He then got joined by all the rest (8 parakeets, 4 ground doves, two Amazon parrots, 1 macaw and Inuk, another dusky headed parakeet). Full house all of a sudden for small Kentaro, but he seems to have taken a liking to Dani (mealy Amazon parrot) as he decided to sleep next to her on the first night!

Cesar (juvenile male spider monkey) found himself in the clinic this month after he suffered a severe cut to his wrist. Cesar is always very inquisitive to anyone or anything different happening around Esperanza Verde and choosing to surprise a brushcutter/ lawnmower when in full operation was not one of his better ideas. This altercation left Cesar´s hand barely attached. Cesar´s hand was reattached and has now had a second operation after the wound reopened. So far, Cesar seems more concerned about being enclosed in the clinic than any evidence of pain, so that we take as a good sign and monitor his recovery to see how much mobility he regains in the coming weeks/months.

Naka (female Humboldt’s woolly monkey) came into the SUSTOAH with a broken arm. For a few weeks we were able to keep a bandage on and around the arm to set it in the right position. When she finally succeeded in ripping it off, we were happy to see the arm stayed in the right position, so we could leave it. Her further recovery went remarkably well, getting strength back in her arm every day a bit more and more. She joined Martin, the male woolly monkey still in the clinic for treatment for the P. Elegans parasite, as both were getting really impatient, and a bit of company is very important for a social animal like woollies are.

It is wonderful to see how Martin is again eager for the food and especially likes to chew on some leaves freshly picked by the volunteers. As he has been gaining weight, we decided it was time to give it a shot again to let him out where he can forage better himself for leaves and get into the social life of the monkey group outside again. So, we opened the door to the outside for both Naka and Martin and it didn’t take them long to run out and climb the trees to join the rest of the monkey troop. For the next hour a lot of happy woolly monkey chirping could be heard.

Our youngest guest in the clinic is the male spider monkey Miyo. He is gaining more and more courage as he grows. He still gets his daily vitamins from a volunteer and every now and then he even gets to join on a walk outside! Soon he will be introduced to the other monkeys. He is already getting regular visits of our eldest female spider monkey Yanay. We hope she will look after him on the outside, as she has done with so many other babies before.

Lupa (female Humboldt’s woolly monkey) is once again outside. Earlier this year she suffered from a stillbirth and seems to have been a bit depressed since. Now it looks like she has become the mentor of Maloha (juvenile female woolly monkey) and is often seen with her trailing along. We hope that this cheers Lupa up and that she can enjoy the outside. She is still under close observation and receiving her vitamins on a daily basis.


In the quarantine the group of young opossums are growing steadily. We had to separate them in smaller groups as two opossums got the tip of their tails bitten, and another one an injured eye. The wounded are already recovering well and the separation effort seems to have allow the oppossoms peace within the smaller groups. Soon they will be ready for the first step towards their release, moving to an outdoor enclosure.

Yuno, the male juvenile kinkajou, is doing well and soon will move out of the quarantine to an outside enclosure for release afterwards. Thankfully he is not at all interested in people and we hope this will contribute to him having a fruitful life outside.

As Payco, the adult male crab eating raccoon is still recovering from a wound on his back, in the Pepe enclosure, Takido, the younger male, has been taken to reside for now in one of the quarantine enclosures. For Takido it does not seem to be a problem, as he has been going on evening walks more and more. Two volunteers take him down to the local creek where he can forage for crabs and snails. He has plenty of energy so it is a good enrichment as well as preparation for his release when he gets older.

Construction and other

The outside extension of the Almacen has this month been completed. Now we can work on bigger projects outside without having the monkeys bothering us.

At the plantation Finca Don Jorge, all is going very well, and more and more variation in food items are brought to Esperanza Verde. As rainy season is on its way it is a good time for planting new fruit trees to ensure a steady source of food for the future.


We started December with a high number of volunteers but have said goodbye to several of them and hope to welcome new volunteers again in January.

Luckily, we had a visitor, of ex-volunteer and good friend of the family and EV, Manuel from Germany, giving us a hand where needed.

We had some great parties, as always in December here at EV. It started with the typical Dutch celebration of San Nicolaas, everybody being very inventive again with their gifts. We celebrated Christmas at the family house, with a great dinner prepared by Craig and Olivia, and a party after that went till well in the morning…. And still the animals were all fed and well cared for the next day!

New year we celebrated at the volunteer kitchen, starting with a great lasagna, prepared by Arthur, Alex and Manu, and some typical Dutch oliebollen from Douwe and Olivia and Kayla. At 12:00 we all went to the port, to get some fireworks going (so animals were not spooked at all). We returned for a great campfire, with the symbolic burning of a puppet, representing the past year (in this case the puppet took the shape of COVID, not surprisingly), giving way for a fresh start in the new year.