Another eventful and exciting month has passed here in the jungle! We’ve had visits from both new and old animals. Elmo made a quick appearance and Olivia and Douwe were able to weigh him and make sure he was okay. It is always a great pleasure to see old residents of Esperanza Verde living a thriving independent life. A wild male capuchin also showed up and for a brief moment we thought it might be Jordi. Jordi, one of our older male capuchins had been missing for several weeks, but this was a new face! It seems he replaced Jordi as the alpha male.
And special wildlife sightings: a king vulture and a caiman (1,5 meter long) living in the stream near the family house!
Kaito (male white-fronted capuchin), Lia, Selma, Rioma & Tisha (Female brown capuchins)
Just like animals we humans are not perfect. The main lock on La Sapa cage, where our newest capuchins are staying, was not properly locked. As intelligent as the capuchins are they quickly figured this out and were able to escape! Three of the females were quickly located and lured back into the cage. But Kaito and Selma are at the moment still out and about. We were not planning on releasing them until the beginning of June, to give them some time to adjust to their new home and let the already existing monkeys safely get familiar with the new group through the cage. So now we all have our eyes and ears open for Kaito and Selma and if the other monkeys are acting up around them.
Babymonkeys (4 woolly monkeys (Lupa, Samara, Pashko, Chiquita), 3 capuchin monkeys (Axira, Khali, Cinty) and one baby red howler monkey (Wallace)
Our group of baby monkeys that just seems to grow and grow is doing very well. They bask in the sun on nice days, climb high up in the treetops with the grown-ups, play around and enjoy each other’s company. They are all evolving into their own personalities and it is incredible to observe their progress.
Loki & Maruja (Woolly monkeys)
The two young woolly monkeys were adjusting fine in the outside cage and have been released to join the outside group! They are working well with their fellow monkeys, Maruja especially with Kamari (grown male woolly). You will often see her hanging out on his back teaching her the ways of life. At times Loki will fall back into his old habits and either reach for volunteers or grab on to them, but he is getting more and more interested in his monkey friends and less occupied with humans which is a good sign.
Wallace (Baby howler monkey)
This month our baby boy took a big step forward. At times he left the safety of Alex’s cabin and slept outside with the other monkeys. He is still under surveillance during the days though, as his mood can quickly change and he slips into a depression. He is one moody monkey who has stolen everyone’s heart.
Soraya (female porcupine)
After so much time, and with some outside help, we finally figured out the exact species, and no wonder that it was hard, as apparently this species has not often been seen. She is a western Amazonian dwarf porcupine or Coendou ichillus. She has adapted well to living in an outside cage again, after the long period of stay at the hospital. The wound on her leg has recovered but she is still weak with her right hind leg (when she arrived she could not move it at all), so we fear we will not be able to ever release her.
Ossi (Male olingo)
We have now started to open Ossi’s cage during the night, which has been quite successful. At times he will stay out in the jungle for a week and then decide to make a short appearance and shows his cute face. We see this as great progress as he arrived as a baby, was raised by humans and now can be out in the wild all on his own!
This month the birds have not caused too much ruckus!
We received 2 hoatzins that died shortly after they arrived. The necropsy later revealed that both of the birds had a lot of food in their crop that they should not have eaten, possible causing problems. They were beautiful birds, taken out of their nest so young and we did our best and hoped, but were not able to keep them alive. It is very hard for any young animal to survive the first human intervention!
Churi (many-banded aracari)
tested his wings again in the large aviary cage but was later taken back to Pepe cage where he now stays alone. This time it was Churi who was intimidated and stressed by the other birds, not the other way around as it has been before, what goes around comes around! He was supervised during his short visit in the aviary but still managed to disappear into the cage and after a couple of minutes of intense searching he was located and taken back to Pepe cage. This process will be repeated a few times a month to try and ease Churi in with the other birds so he does not have to live a life alone in his cage.
SUST Animal Orphan Hospital
Lulu (young female two-toed sloth)
Our young female sloth is no longer a baby; she slowly is taken of off her milk and is stimulated to eat more raw vegetables and wild-leaves. She is taken out still twice a day for a walk and for climbing in trees, and soon she will be moved out of the hospital to a big outside cage. As it fits a sloth we prepare her slowly for her release. This month she had a first encounter with a con-specific: Elmo (our released male sloth). While weighing Elmo we got them acquainted, and Lulu had a chance to smell and lick Elmo’s face.
Sheena (tawny-bellied screech owl)
Our very own Sheena is excelling at her training and now eats up to 50 crickets a day! This means more frequent visits to the plantation to catch crickets for the volunteers. Our Swiss volunteer Kaspar and French volunteer Nico have now, with some help from Douwe, finished the cricket farms. We are still in a trial period trying to figure out how it will be the most effective. So far the farm has not successfully produced any new crickets, but we are hopeful and optimistic about its possibilities.
Chili (Black fronted Nun-bird)
Chili is another addition to the SUST Animal Orphan Hospital this month. Just like Sheena he eats crickets, thankfully not as many! He is one little nervous guy who we are looking forward to treat and take care of. He was shot out of the tree with a catapult. The stone splintered one of his wings and he might never be able to fly. We are treating him and will wait….sometimes animals show amazing recovering!
Monano (Male baby woolly monkey)
This month we received another baby woolly monkey! He came from a local family in Bello Horizonte, after Olivia had spoken to the family about how he could have a better life over here at Esperanza Verde with his own species. They realized she was right and brought him over a couple of days later. He is named Monano and is a 14 month old male who right now stays in the SUST Animal Orphan Hospital.
When he arrived his checkup showed that he was healthy, except for a couple of sand flea eggs in his foot that Douwe quickly removed. He was chipped and now spends his time playing in the hammock in his cage. At times you will find Maruja (baby woolly) or Loki (young woolly monkey) sitting outside of his cage observing and curios about their future new friend.
Chipping of the outside monkeys
The process of chipping all our un-chipped animals was also set in motion during May. We successfully chipped several monkeys and we were at the same time able to find out the sex of Camilas (female squirrel monkey) baby, and it’s a female! She is now named Canila.
The monkeys we managed to chip were Camila and her baby (female squirrel monkeys), Sira (female nightmonkey), Yanay (female spider monkey), Nikita (female capuchin), Nakoya and Chiquita (female woolly monkeys) and Monano – our new baby woolly monkey. So far the most difficult one left, is our big woolly monkey friend and strong male, Kamari.
And then the peccaries……..
The chipping is a stressful moment for both animals and humans but is a necessity if the case ever comes that we have to be able to identify our animals.
Mica is continuing to show an affectionate behavior towards our assistant manager Alexandra, and we took the moment in act of being able to get close to her to catch her, and she will stay with the new capuchins in the La Sapa cage. This way we hope she will bond with them, so they can be released together.
The guest house is nearly complete! There are some finishing touches that need to be done but in the near future it will be ready to welcome its first guests.
Kaspar and Nico have been working hard to get the cricket farms ready and we have finally started the process and put our first couple of crickets in. Right now we are having some issues with ants entering the boxes and killing several crickets. We are working on different solutions to prevent this. Hopefully this will be the permanent solution to “The cricket situation”, but for now we are still hunting on the plantation every day. Our estimation is that we have caught approximately 2000 crickets during this month already!
Another successful trip to the Regalia waterfall was done. A night walk with Douwe was also organized, which is always appreciated and exciting. A month filled with many nice bonfires, laughs and good meals from our new chef Doña Flor!