Esperanza Verde Update / August 2017

This last month has been one of the toughest ones for Esperanza Verde and it is with heavy hearts we’ve had to say goodbye to some of our dearest animals…
Willow, Rincay, Zambo and Camila all had a special place in our hearts and we will miss having them around. You can see a special homage for them on our Facebook page.
And as if it was not enough we lost two of the new baby birds, as well as Crickie, one of our yellow footed tortoises. All and all a hard month here….
But we’ve carried on and thanks to a lot of hard work from Douwe, Olivia, the workers and volunteers, we have finished the turtle pond AND the deer enclosure! As well we welcomed a very young newcomer. Read about it all below…



With Willow gone (male woolly monkey) there has been a lot of changes in our outside group.
Kamari (also male woolly monkey) has had to step up in his role as leader and all together we see a more united group. Nakoya, female woolly monkey, who’ve had some problems with parasites before is looking healthier and seems to become more dominant. Losing a monkey is never fun but we are happy to see that the outside group is still doing fine.

Uma (female woolly monkey)


Uma, who spent her quarantine period up in the SUST Animal Orphan Hospital, was moved to an outside cage so she could have contact with the outside monkeys. We brought Maruja, a female woolly monkey of the same age, in the cage with Uma in hopes of a friendship. It sort of worked but still Uma seems to have connected the best with is Loki, male woolly monkey, who had contact with her from the outside through the fence. And when the time for release came it was Loki she straight away teamed up with. Now she has gotten to know everyone better but it is still with Loki we find her at the end of the day.

Rioma, Tisha, Lia (female brown capuchins) & Maku (male wild brown capuchins)

In March we received five capuchin monkeys when the ministry of flora and fauna made a surprise visit. After being introduced to the outside group only three of them stayed around. And we are happy to tell you that the remaining ones; Lia, Tisha and Rioma all have adapted well. They have especially taken a liking to the wild male Maku.

Mayantu (baby female brown capuchin)

Mayantu, as we named the very young baby of about 6 weeks old, was carried here on the arm by a young girl from the village. Her mother was shot and eaten by the family and she was taken home as a pet.  Dajeli, one of the other children of the village, and godchild of Douwe and Olivia, convinced her to come here. Very skinny, but alert and active, we took her under our care. It brings back memories of the beginning, when we took care of the first monkey of Esperanza Verde, Mica, now a healthy adult female brown capuchin.


Other Mammals

Kiko & Kila (male and female Kinkajous)


The kinkajous got a bit of an environmental change. Further down you can read about our plans for Sheena (tropical screech owl) and because of this Sheena and the kinkajous swapped cages.
We are stalling their release for now until we come up with a plan that doesn’t involve Kiko getting hurt once again… For now though the volunteers enjoy having them closer to the kitchen and Kiko and Kila seem to enjoy Pepe cage!

Lulu (female two-toed sloth)


Last month we took the step to let Lulu spend the nights outside of her cage. This turned out to be three nights and when she finally showed up one day by the clinic she had lost a lot of weight. We believed this was because Elmo (male two-toed sloth released about 4 years ago) kept stealing her food. She got put in Roko cage and once she was a bit heavier again we let her out. This time we put her food table in a different location to avoid Elmo eating from it, and it has worked! So far no sign of Elmo, but for a few days no signs of Lulu either… Until she once again showed up hanging under the clinic roof. We are a bit unsure how she got there but our guess is she has gotten over the fence, walked along the ground and has gotten up to the roof by climbing on the wire mesh of one of the cages, pretty creative sloth. For now we will let her gain weight and try to release her again.


Birds & Reptiles

Sheena (tropical screech owl)


The plans of releasing Sheena are set in place. She has now gotten moved to Tiliku cage, which is further away from the monkeys and as well has a hatch for releasing birds. She seems to enjoy her cage as there are not as many distractions (monkeys) over there. The family cat Simba seems to have taken a liking to her though… We will see how that develops, so far she reacts well and flies away. Now she needs to get used to that area and hopefully she will soon be ready for semi-release!

Five baby birds

(Two ruddy ground doves, two palm tanagers and one of the seedeater sp.)
Last month we received, within two days, five baby birds! After a lot of intensive care with round the clock feeding they all became independent and good flyers after some weeks. About the two tanagers (named Yagu & Zazu now found out to be palm tanagers) and the bird of unknown specie (we believe he is some sort of seedeater and we named him Buco!) you can read more about further down under SUST Animal Orphan Hospital, unfortunately not a happy ending for all of them…
The two doves we managed to release quite soon after they could eat independently. Nicely done by everyone involved.

Crickie (yellow footed tortoise)

Our old friend Crickie who spent a lot of time with us up in the clinic unfortunately is not with us anymore. In the making of the new turtle pond we didn’t anticipate that the tortoises would have such a hard time to walk on the cement compared to the previous mud floor. So when we walked by the next morning we found Crickie dead in the pond since he was unable to get out. We have since that improved the pond too make it safe for tortoises and volunteer Andreas from Germany has taken the job in training the tortoises daily to the pool. This way all of them will learn what to do in case they fall in. Also tortoises can receive some water-survival-training!


SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

At the moment only Martha (yellow footed tortoise) and Rabito (red brocket deer) are at the clinic, but that doesn’t mean it is less busy! At this moment we have a lot of time to focus on faeces samples and the overall health of the other animals!

Buco (Seedeater sp.)

Unfortunately one day the smallest bird with us was found dead on the floor in the cage. After necropsy we believe the cause of death was some sort of accident, it might have involved the other birds (the palm tanagers) but we do not know. Buco arrived last month tiny, and even though he got some feathers he remained tiny (4 gr when he arrived and 8 gr at death) and we were not able to figure out his exact specie.

Yagu & Zazu (palm tanagers)


They spent a few more days in the clinic and then it was time to introduce them to an outside cage. Since the parakeets quickly accepted the dove Chipi a few months ago we hoped that it would go well with the tanagers as well. And it did, but unfortunately the outside didn’t treat one of them well and a monkey managed to grab on to Yagu’s leg through the wire mesh and rip it off. He was later euthanized since there was nothing we could do for him.
Zazu is doing fine together with all the birds in Igor cage and seems to have learned the hard way to stay away from the fence when there are monkeys around.

Martha (female yellow footed tortoise)

Martha's egg
Martha’s egg

We were all surprised one morning finding out that Martha had laid an egg! Unfortunately it got crushed by her but she has since then laid six of which we were able to save three. Martha came here in May, from the wild. Tortoises can lay fertile eggs still several years after isolation from males, so there is a big change these ones might be fertile. Time will tell. The eggs we managed to rescue are now safely stored with Claire in the cabin, until we find out if they are fertile.
And for Martha, we will see if she lays more eggs and meanwhile we are continuing her medication but hope that she soon can join the other tortoises in Reptile cage.



Deer enclosure

The new home for Rabito and Ringo (our two male red brocket deer) is done thanks to Lush Cosmetics! The new cage will be named ‘Pepito’ after our beloved yellow footed tortoise, and Rincays favourite companion. Now we are just waiting until the treatment of Rabitos skin (who still has problems with fungus) will be effective so we can introduce them to each other in their new enclosure.

Turtle pond

Turtles release
Turtles release

Earlier this year we already started saving for the necessary renewal of the turtle pond, and received a donation from the children of the Nuts Basis school Teteringen.  With the donation from Lush Cosmetics we could finance the total costs so we could start. After the preparations, which involved a lot of sand carrying, searching for all the tortoises and turtles to get them out during the time of construction, and more.  After that it went fast and this month we could finish the pond.
Unfortunately we realized it was not safe enough for the tortoises, which are sharing the enclosure with the turtles, so again we took the turtles out and made some improvements. The edges around the pond have gotten a bit more levelled out so the chance of falling in is not as big and as well climbing out will be easier. Also instead of smooth cement along the bottom we have added a layer of cement mixed with sand to give it more friction for the tortoises. We have let some tortoises test it after that and they are able to get out. But so far it seems like we have a successful pond and a lot of happy turtles!



This last month we’ve had the company of Lauren and Iain from England and two of their good friends Camila and Luke.  Lauren and Iain have been part of Esperanza Verde now for several years, and Lauren has now been our communication manager for some time as a volunteer, looking for sponsors, as well as the big job in handling all the email correspondence with volunteers.
They spent several weeks with us, helping us with all the tasks, as well as preparing another video of Esperanza Verde.  Thank you all for your hard work!


One of the things they got going was the making of enrichment again for our resident animals. There was a friendly competition of who could come up with the best enrichment and team ‘Playviary’ won. And as the name gives away it is a playground for the Aviary. It is yet to be made but we look forward seeing the birds enjoying it. Iain and Lauren have now left but the enrichment making is still continuing, the spider monkeys, the kinkajous, the birds and Churi are all enjoying their new toys.

We have also enjoyed some wildlife; seeing a meter long coral snake, spotting opossums on our nightly cricket hunts and enjoying a sunny trip to the regalia.

Alexandra, Swedish long term volunteer, is now back and together with French Claire, her replacement in the position as assistant manager, and Douwe they will take care of things while Olivia leaves for Holland in the mid of September for a month.