What a busy month it has been at Esperanza Verde! We have had to say goodbye to volunteers, and welcome many more. New baby birds have arrived, as well as a young woolly monkey will join our ever increasing monkey group. The excitement never seems to stop, and our volunteers are working hard every day to keep the centre running at top speed. Read on to find out more of what´s been going on with your favorite animals! Great news we received in the last month that the Dutch foundation Jaap vd Graaf decided to support Esperanza Verde with a huge donation. Thank you!
When someone enjoys walking in the forest a lot, there is enough opportunity here, and, if lucky, can encounter several animals. This way Philip from Switzerland has seen an otter, a king vulture, a caiman and spotted our Elmo.
Uma (female woolly monkey)
Once more, a new baby monkey joins our family! Douwe and Olivia received a call from former volunteer Enrico, who currently lives in nearby Pucallpa. A woman he knew had her and Enrico was able to confiscate Uma and hand her over to Esperanza Verde. Uma came to us in good health; she is around ten months old. For now, Uma lives in the SUST Animal Orphan Hospital.
Mica, Kres & Maku (female brown capuchins and male brown capuchin)
The three capuchins we put in the La Sapa cage a few weeks ago are doing well. Volunteers have been keeping an eye out to see if Mica and Maku are interested in each other. Mica originally had to be enclosed because her attraction to our assistant manager Alex led to Mica biting her in a moment of jealousy. We hope this time of forced enclosure will bond Mica enough with Maku, and even better get her pregnant. They were already sleeping together on the first night! We decided to keep them in the cage for a few more weeks, but alas, Mica showed us how smart she was when she snuck out of the cage one morning at a moment of unawareness of the volunteer feeding. With little reason to keep Maku enclosed, he was released later that day. Kres went out as well, and had some good moments with Nera (female capuchin monkey) outside. Unfortunately as soon as she hears or sees Olivia she starts following her. She seems to see her as her main caregiver, so now Olivia will need to start hiding.
Monano (male woolly monkey)
After getting his foot caught in a tree a while back, Monano seems to have fully recovered from the ordeal. He spent some time in the clinic, and has now been released again. Volunteers kept a close watch on him when feeding the baby monkeys milk. We were worried for a while when Monano seemed to have a hard time climbing down from the trees, but we are happy to report he has returned to normal, continuing to play with the other woolies and monkeys who live around Esperanza Verde.
Wallace (male howler monkey)
Wallace continues to steal the hearts of our volunteers, despite his grumpy attitude. He gave us a scare one morning, and we found him with a torn ear from the capuchins. We were worried the ear could get infected, but Wallace has recovered well from the incident. Other than that, Wallace continues to grow bigger and more independent each week, and we have adjusted our care for him to encourage him to be with the monkeys more than humans. He spends the days outside playing with Yanay the spider monkey, Willow the adult woolly monkey, or any number of our baby woolly monkeys.
Sira (female night monkey)
Sira gave us quite a scare these past few weeks. Volunteers noticed she wasn´t eating in her cage, and everyone realized they hadn´t seen her in a while. A watch was put out for Sira, and it was going on a week when someone spotted her near Sheena´s cage. After a few more brief appearances, Sira seems to have returned. Olivia caught and weighed her, and she has been gaining weight! This is an excellent sign, as it means Sira was able to find food for herself. We´re still keeping an eye out for Sira, but for now it seems like she will be staying with us for a while longer.
Rincay (male Brazilian tapir)
Rincay has fallen ill recently. During his regular feedings, volunteers noticed he was eating considerably less than usual and wasn´t waiting by the gate like he usually does for his food. Olivia and Douwe have been checking on him frequently, giving him chamomile tea, forest leaves and extra spinach to help him. Normally playful and in the way, Rincay started acting skittish when people came near him. He stopped showing up at the gate for his food, causing more concern for his health. He is currently under treatment, and we hope we will get him back to his normal self soon.
Lulu (female two-toed sloth) and Elmo (male two-toed sloth)
Lulu has been doing exceptionally well in her new cage. Recently, we have started taking her outside in the afternoons to practice her climbing. She caused some panic with how she was climbing, but this a great sign! One day, Lulu wasn´t coming down when we called her, and reluctantly, she was left outside for the night, too high up for anyone to get her. Everyone was looking for her the next day. To our surprise and delight, we saw Elmo in a tree past one of the bird cages. Lulu was found a few hours later, when Douwe built a small table for her to find her food. It´s a great sign Elmo was near Lulu, and we hope the two of them will continue to be friends. Now Lulu is outside and we see her every other day, so we can keep on checking up on her, sometimes taking her into the clinic to weigh.
Zambo (male tayra)
Our resident tayra has been a hot conversation topic around Esperanza Verde as of late. As you may know, Zambo is leashed up twice a day to be taken outside for a walk. Once he is far enough away from the center, he is unleashed and allowed to walk freely for a few hours. Volunteers have encountered a problem when it comes time to re-leash Zambo, and he becomes difficult to walk with, constantly trying to play or jump at them. We have been throwing ideas around with Douwe, speculating if the harness leash was rubbing him wrong or if he was growing bored from walking the same paths. The people who walk Zambo continue to come up with different methods to deal with Zambo. We´ve started providing enrichment for Zambo every day, including putting pieces of rotten wood in his cage for him to claw and find insect larvae.
Tamana (female tamandua)
One night Claire heard some noise outside of the cabin, and while searching we were happily surprised to find Tamana in a palm tree enjoying termites from a big nest hanging there. We weighed her quickly and let her enjoy the rest of the termites again. She is doing very well.
Sheena (tropical screech owl)
Sometimes animals are easy to care for, and sometimes it takes a village. Sheena has adapted well to living outside of the clinic. She is fed crickets and meat three times a day, which means our volunteers continue catching crickets for her each day, although this has become quite an endeavor with crickets being harder and harder to find at the plantation. Nonetheless, we continue catching them to feed our favorite screech owl. Sheena continues practicing hunting the crickets in her cage. The better she gets, the more chance she will have of a successful release in the wild. For now, we are continuing with our efforts with the cricket farm and looking for new places to catch crickets.
Five baby birds (two doves, two tanagers and one of yet unknown species)
In a matter of two days, five young birds have joined our midst. Two boys from the village were climbing a coconut tree when a nest fell out, containing two baby birds. They hid them in the bushes, but another child warned Kayla and with the help of a teacher found they were handed over to Kayla to bring to Esperanza Verde. The birds were fairly bold the first day and after 5 days got beautiful green feathers.
The same day of their arrival, a young girl from Bello found a broken nest with two young doves and passed them to Kayla. The next day, a boy found two birds. Unfortunately, one of them died but the other seems to be doing well. A very tiny bird, the smallest we have had in our care ever with only 5 grams. The species cannot be determined yet.
All of the birds require round the clock feedings. The doves are old enough to live in the clinic now, while the other three are being cared for at the family house.
SUST Animal Orphan Hospital
For a time, Pinto (the small tortoise) was the only resident until the arrival of Uma. We said goodbye to the two house cats who are now both at a local family.
We decide to use this time to do a deparasitation campaign in the village, with a lot of success and followed by the visit of two dogs from the village for castration.
Pinto (yellow footed tortoise)
After spending a long time in the clinic, Pinto was finally ready for a new home! Pinto came to us in April, and he got his name because his shell had been painted over (thankfully the paint could be washed off). He remained in the clinic to be treated for parasites, and after checking him over one last time, he was deemed healthy enough join the others in the reptile enclosure.
With the sponsorship of the Susy Utzinger Stiftung in Switzerland, Esperanza Verde was able to conduct a deparasitation campaign in Bello Horizonte. It was hugely successful, with many people from the village bringing their dogs (and a few cats) to be treated. French head volunteer Claire, German veterinary volunteer Marlen, and Swiss volunteer Philip also helped Olivia and Douwe during the day. Overall, 41 animals were successfully treated. We hope to have more campaigns in the future, because it not only helps the animals directly but helps us to educate their owners about the importance of their pets’ health and their own safety.
Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Lush Cosmetics in England, our vision of an enclosure for the two deer, Rabito and Ringo, can become true. The enclosure will be built across from the spider monkeys´ cage. Already construction has begun, with posts being put up around the area. More work will be done when building materials arrive in a few weeks from Lima. We are incredibly thankful to finally have a proper home for the red deer, who have waited patiently since their arrival in early 2016 for a place of their own.
Babies have been heard in our cricket farm! Everyone was delighted by this success, but of course it couldn´t be that simple. The cricket babies were so small that they could escape through the fine wire mesh of the boxes. Thankfully, with the farm being in the bodega, volunteers are able to catch some of the escaped crickets. We are loathe to give up on the farm after so much work has been put into it, but our efforts are not producing the results we wanted. It may be time to look elsewhere for more crickets.
At long last, construction on one of the three monkey tables has finally been completed. A cement platform was built underneath the wire table used for feeding the monkeys. Douwe felt inspired to finish it when volunteers complained it was difficult to clean up the food that was dropped. It´s important that we clean up the food as best as possible or ants and other insects will be attracted to the area, putting people and animals at risk of getting bitten by bullet ants.
Last month our Swedish volunteers led us in a celebration of Mid-summer, and this month our group of Americans decided to throw a party for the Fourth of July. They made the jungle version of food they would eat at home and sang the national anthem a few times. Everyone had a great time with a bonfire, cake, and playing Bingo, which Douwe won both times.
Earlier this month, most of our volunteers went on a day trip to the Regalia, a large waterfall upstream of the main river that cuts through Bello Horizonte and Esperanza Verde. They all had a great time, even when a storm broke on their way back. The water level was so low, they had to get out several times to push the boat across the surface and wade through the river until it got deep enough again. Of course, it was back to work as usual when they made it back.
Our long-term volunteer-assistant manager Alex has left for a month to explore Peru with another volunteer, and we are excited to welcome back Claire Gillant from France as her replacement. Claire has extensive volunteer experience, having been a volunteer two years ago at Esperanza Verde as well as spending time at Merazonia. She will be staying with us for several months, and taking over from Alex when she leaves for home to start studying.