Esperanza Verde Update / April 2017

Some busy weeks here at Esperanza Verde! Besides spotting a two-toed sloth we believed could have been Elmo and going on an easter-egg-hunt, the Ministry made a surprise visit and dropped of some animals while most of the volunteers were on a trip to the big waterfall Regalia!
As well another woolly monkey from the village came in our care. All of this and more you can read about below.


Besides the surprise visit from the ministry and the joining of Maruja here at Esperanza Verde everything seems to be going well with our inside and outside monkeys.
Once again it seems that Mica (female brown capuchin) has once again gotten attached to a volunteer. Alex, long term volunteer, and now assistant-manager, got followed day and night for a few days by Mica who was screaming and banging on the windows. It was decided that she would move in with the family for a few days to help her deal with this. Unfortunately when she was about to move over she got bitten by Mica. The bite was not too bad and the wound has healed well by now, and Mica seemed to calm down quickly after she moved in with the family. Only on the first day she showed up, but it seems that as soon as Olivia showed her face she went away. We will see what happens the next time, which will be about every 18 days!!

Maruja & Loki (female and male Woolly Monkeys)


Last month Loki arrived here at EV. During his time at the clinic he was joined by by six month old Maruja who lived with a local in nearby village Bello Horizonte.
They both spent their quarantine period up in the SUST Animal Orphan Hospital and then moved out to Lucia cage as a preparation to join the outside group. They both seem healthy and even though being used to human contact they are doing good with keeping away from the volunteers who daily clean their cage.
And already they have formed a bond with the older woolly monkey male Willow, who spends a lot of time by their cage and we hope that they will quickly be accepted by the outside group!

Wallace (male howler monkey)

Our little baby still lives with Alex at the cabin during the night but is already spending most of the day up in the trees with our other baby monkeys, especially the woolly monkeys Lupa, Chiquita, Samara & Pashko who have welcomed him well. He even spend some nights outside already.
We tried introducing him to Maruja & Loki with the hope that Wallace might be able to spend the night with them in Lucia cage but he did not seem to excited and the time he was in the cage he spent sitting in a corner with his head down. But we are working on getting him more independent so he can become a full-time outside monkey!

Kaito (male white-fronted capuchin), Lia, Tisha, Rioma & Selma (female brown capuchins)

Together with an owl named Sheena, we received 5 capuchin monkeys from the Ministry. We did not know they were arriving and with most of the volunteer group away to the bigger waterfall it was a short moment of chaos.. But when everyone got back all together helped preparing cages for the new animals, and helping out with tours so that Douwe, Oliva, Alex and Nora (Swiss vet student) could do a check up on all the capuchins and put them in a proper cage up in the clinic compared to the quickly built cage they arrived in.
They have most likely been kept as pets or around people and are therefore used to humans. After their quarantine period they were chipped and moved to La Sapa cage. Right now they are doing well. But as always introducing adult monkeys to an already functioning group can always be risky. Joining them with the outside monkeys can endanger all the others; as well it can cause problems with humans. But we hope that by staying in La Sapa cage for a long time, they will get used to the already outside monkey and vice versa. Under SUST Animal Orphan Hospital you can read more about the treatment we gave some of the monkeys when they first arrived.

Other Mammals

Kiko and Kila (male and female kinkajou)

At the start of this month, we opened the hatch from the cage of the kinkajous again. Together with all the volunteers, Douwe opened the hatch and Kiko and Kila looked excited to go out. In the following days we spotted the cage sometimes empty, sometimes with them sleeping inside. Unfortunately there was one night that Douwe and Olivia woke up from loud screaming and Kiko was found fighting with the wild male Kinkajou again. He seems to be all right, except from a swollen scratch on his face that he received antibiotics a while for. For now Kiko and Kila are locked up again.

Zambo (male tayra)

Our beloved Zambo has been taken on walks twice a day since his early days at Esperanza Verde. He is still growing and always looks excited to go on walks. He runs up in the trees as soon as we take of his leash and plays around in the bushes. He does likes to play with us as well and bites our boots every walk a few times. So every Friday we have a Zambo meeting together with Douwe where we discuss his behavior and possible ways of teaching him to keep his distance from humans. So far this seems to help the volunteers in how to handle him and he has since become less interested in us and more interested in the environment.
And this month he has met a snake and also Tamana, the tamandua we released in March, when out walking. Was a close call with the snake (we first believed he might have been bitten but), and with Tamana he got in a little fist fight but both Zambo and Tamana could walk away with all four limbs still intact!


There is a lot of movement going on with the birds at Esperanza Verde. All the parakeets from Pepe cage are moved in with the birds in Igor cage to use the cages more efficiently. Churi (many-banded aracari), Rhaegar & Daenerys (male and female mealy amazons) were put together in Pepe cage. Churi was very interested in the other birds but Rhaegar & Daenerys seemed to be intimidated by the Aracari´s presence. For their own safety, they were moved again to join the other birds in the aviary. Churi will stay in Pepe cage for some time, and we will try to let him join the aviary as well. During the move all the birds were dewurmed and checked for health problems. Besides the known problems, such as birds with missing eyes or broken wings, they are all doing well.

Chipi (male ruddy ground dove) and Frederick (white-winged parakeet)

Our little dove Chipi was doing very well in the clinic, so it was time to let him join the parakeets in Casa cage. First, the parakeet Tony was brought up to the clinic so we could see how Chipi reacted on other birds and since it went well they were put together into Casa cage. They are doing very well and Chipi looks happy with the new environment!
Frederick, the white-winged parakeet who joined the Casa cage last month, was found dead only a few days after the joining of Chipi. Douwe performed an autopsy and discovered a bleeding in the brain of unknown cause.



Yellow footed tortoise
Yellow footed tortoise

A few times every year we organize a search for all the tortoises in reptile cage. In total we have 18 of yellow-footed tortoises, and about 25 yellow spotter river turtles. Often these animals are forgotten as they have a big enclosure and are mostly hidden from our sight. Now our goal was to find the yellow-footed tortoises. It is not the easiest job to find them but with all volunteers together it is a fun job, and this time we could manage to find 14 of the 18 tortoises but we are keeping an eye out for the four remaining ones.

SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

New arrivals !
New arrivals !

Several animals are treated or given special treatment (e.g. milk and vitamins for all baby monkeys) on a daily basis from out of our Hospital. In this section we mention some of the more special cases.
This month has been especially busy for the clinic! Besides the regular check-ups and treatments of the animals who already resides within Esperanza Verde we had a lot of new animals which means a lot of changes and quarantine treatment.

Kaito (male white-fronted capuchin), Tisha, Selma, Rioma & Lia (female brown capuchins)

As mentioned earlier in the newsletter we got joined by no less than five capuchins. The male Kaito and Tisha seemed to be the healthiest ones. Female Selma is possibly the oldest one and was underweight when coming here but seems to be gaining weight good. Rioma who we believe is the youngest one had a rotten tooth which got taken out by Douwe. The one we were the most worried about was Lia, she came in with a not to serious wound on her leg which she also got treatment for but the entire evening she sat in one corner with head down. Luckily though the next morning she was up and running again together with the others.They were all given treatment for parasites and chipped before we moved them in the outside cage La Sapa.

Loki (male woolly monkey) + Maruja (female woolly monkey)


With all volunteers we decided on a name change for Koki, now named Loki. He was joined by a new arrival, Maruja, a young female woolly monkey. She was held as a pet for 6 months at a family in the village. She had a hard time with the change, and was hanging for the first hours like a bat in the cage, ignoring Loki totally. But she got adjusted after a day and loved the hammock that was put in her cage. Both our small furry babies had a hard time getting used to not clinging on the volunteers all the time, but they needed to learn as soon they will be joining the outside group of monkeys.
And then their big day came when they got to move down to and outside cage! Of course the hammock came down with Maruja and both her and Loki seems excited to get to know the outside monkeys.

Sheena (tawny-bellied screech owl)

Sheena, screech owl
Sheena, screech owl

Another new arrival in the clinic is Sheena, the screech owl we received from the Ministery. She is most likely raised by humans and therefore very tame. Unfortunately she has never learned to hunt but should eat little reptiles and insects. To make that happen, our fantastic volunteers go to the plantation every day to catch at least 30 grasshoppers or crickets. Special thanks to our Swiss volunteer Kasper, we have multiple traps and hopefully a little cricket farm soon.
Also Nico, a french volunteer, has taken on the task of trying to train Sheena to catch the crickets instead of us always offering them with a pincet. She already started to catch some herself, so we have hopes to be able to release her at some point.

Pinto (yellow-footed tortoise)

Pinto on arrival
Pinto on arrival
Pinto clean
Pinto clean

Pinto got his name because when he arrived he was painted all over his shell and head. Douwe together with his son Marlon washed it off but the name stuck.
He was brought over here after an unfortunate accident with a bushcutter in the village. A piece of Pinto’s leg was sliced away, and some bone is visible. He undergoes treatment for his wound and after a faeces sample was taken parasites were discovered. We are determining the parasites with help of our veterinarian contacts in Switzerland to be able to give him the best treatment.

Ossi (male olingo)

Ossi in outside cage
Ossi in outside cage

Ossi, has been growing nicely, and eating a lot. He was moved out of the clinic to prepare him for his release in an outside cage. He is adjusting well, we could stop feeding him his porridge as he is eating whole pieces of food now. He is a real big eater


Guest House

The construction of the guest house is going fast. Douwe has now finished the tiling of the kitchen and will continue soon with the bathroom. It is already looking like a beautiful small house in the middle of the jungle.

General Maintenance

We are at the end of rain season but still we sometimes have a problem with water filling up cages. During the last couple of weeks the volunteers have had a hard time with cleaning the Pepe cage, where at the moment Churi (many-banded aracari) resides. This cage had some drainage problems and became very muddy. To solve this, the volunteers carried lots of stones to the lowest parts of the cage and made a nice path towards it. Now the cage is a lot easier and definitely less frustrating to clean!
But also every month we got cages to fix, paths to maintain and gears to repair. Kees, a Dutch volunteer, and our handy-man, built several sleeping boxes for animals and repaired many steps from the paths with other volunteers.
Furthermore, new enrichments were made for La Sapa cage to entertain the new capuchin monkeys.


At the start of this month, the group of volunteers went to Regalia again. Unfortunately the sun was hiding but besides that it was a lovely day and we saw many beautiful birds, among them several hoatzins, one white throated toucan and a capped heron, on the boat ride back.
An easter egg hunt was organized and on Easter Day all off the volunteers together with the family went to the waterfall for a search! We had some lucky winners (as well monkeys who stole some off the eggs before we could get to them) and after we had a wonderful lunch organized by the family.