February 2022 Newsletter

Another great month at Esperanza Verde. Rainy season started with a bang at the beginning of February, with water almost reaching the volunteer house… and the mosquitoes are loving it!


It was time for Ashuke and Miyo, our two new juvenile male spider monkeys to meet the other monkeys. Ashuke already had some experience from a previous release but he wasn’t very outgoing so we felt that being with Miyofor a bit could boost both of their confidence levels. So, when we opened the door for both, the first monkey to show interest in the 2 new releases was Yanay (adult female spider monkey). Of course, Biko, one of the outside large headed young adult male capuchins was directly inside for a leftover snack, while Ricuna and Chula (two juvenile female spider monkeys) came to play a bit with the two newcomers. Both Ashuke and Miyo will take their time to adapt, so late afternoon they return safely to their enclosure for the night. In time they will both be able to sleep and live outside.

Payco, the adult crab-eating racoon was once again brought back to the Pepe enclosure. He was doing really well outside it seemed, but the wound on his back reopened and to avoid any further infections we decided to give him some more time for healing. It is going well, and the fur is now starting to cover the bald spot, so we are aiming for another release again next month!

Maida (young female howler monkey) who had been struggling last month is definitely on the right path now, getting treated well at the family house, she now seems to never stop eating! She has been going outside quite a lot and has made friends with the woolly monkeys, especially with Lupa, one of our adult females.

An adult pygmy ant eater was found by one of the locals in their garden. We relocated it to a safer area within the land surrounding EV, while explaining to the volunteers about this animal’s behavior and life in the jungle. This proves the importance of having a good relationship with the local community and the importance of education about local wildlife. It is great to notice the concern locals have and the effort they take sometimes to get an animal to safety.

SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

This month we were very pleased to welcome Philipp, Florian and Lukas from Esperanza Verde International. Philipp has been involved with EV since many years, as a good friend, veterinarian, and as president of the International Esperanza Verde Association (EVI). Philipp first met Douwe and Olivia in Ecuador while volunteering as a vet-student for the rescue centre AmaZOOnico. Florian is a veterinarian as well and highly involved in the Association (e.g., organization of the members and contacts). Lukas took charge many years ago of the website for EVI, without ever having visited. So for him this was the first real-life EV experience, finally enjoying the beauty for real instead of digitally! The purpose of their trip (they thought…) was to take a holiday and relax but of course we are grateful for the extra help and have taken every advantage of having two veterinarians and a IT-expert here as much as possible!

Cesar (male adult spider monkey) who had his hand almost cut off, has made a remarkable recovery and got the all clear to go outside with the others again. All the outside monkeys welcomed him with open arms, Biko (adult male large headed capuchin) and Nando (adult male spix white capuchin) were very happy to have their playmate back.

Two yellow-footed tortoises Momo and Diablito, that were previously released, were found near the center of Esperanza Verde. After a quick checkup in the clinic, we discovered they had parasites, so we kept them in for further treatment. Momo was soon up and about, and out, but Diablito developed some eye problems, so he will be a guest for a bit longer.

Doquino (male adult agouti), from the Pepito enclosure, where he lives with three others, was brought to the SUST-hospital for the treatment of a swollen foot. He only needed a short treatment, loving the attention that he received from the volunteers, before he was returned.

Katinka (female adult spider monkey) was one of several animals that profited from the visit from our Swiss friends. She needed some stitches as a wound was not closing on its own so together with Douwe, the veterinarians Philipp and Florian, she underwent a small operation and is now recovering in the recently reconstructed ´Araña´ enclosure.

Several opossums (black-eared opossums) of the quarantine group, were able to be released, first going into an outside enclosure where they could go in and out, with food still provided. Unfortunately, some of the others were found to have some health concerns and were kept in the quarantine for treatment. The last of the group of opossums was Tila, who was treated for a bitten tail. She was moved to the outside enclosure and as with the others we expect here to find her way in the jungle soon again.

Keska, one of our newerjuvenile female woolly monkey, suffered a head injury. The woollies were making a lot of noise which caught Geylers attention. His first thought was a snake moving in the bushes, but upon further inspection it appeared to be Keska laying in a puddle of water. She was still alive but very cold and non-responsive. Philipp, Florian and Alexandra, reacted quickly and got her warmed up and gave first aid. She then was moved to the family house, for further intensive care and observation. We were all afraid for her survival, but she made it through first night. Philipp reached out to a well-respected neurologist friend and further treatment was set up. Every day she seems to improve. Although we are still unsure what the future will hold for her, we stay hopeful. Her body functions, but her brain is not fully aware of what it can do. She is fighting, and we will do all in our power to help her regain her independence again.


The ministry of Fauna and Flora reached out to us for help with several animals that they confiscated. With a steady group of volunteers willing to give a bit of extra help we were able to accept the newcomers. Our visitor veterinarians helped with the general health checks and treatments.

Watson (juvenile male howler monkey) arrived with a fractured elbow. He was not doing well, not eating, so we made the exception of shortening his quarantine period and bringing him, together with Maida to the family house. It seemed to have been the best decision for both. Maida is stimulating him to eat leaves and other healthy veggies, while Watson is giving her some warm company. They really started to behave like siblings, with a lot of playing and squabbling and at the end of the day sleeping happily together.

Minya, a white winged parakeet who had had her feathers cut, is staying in the clinic at the moment while going through her quarantine period. Once finished she can be introduced into Igor cage where the other parakeets reside.

Alicucu, an adult tropical screech-owl, is healthy, except for his feathers being partially cut. We hope we can keep him wild enough for an eventual release back into the wild. Volunteers are catching crickets or grasshoppers on a daily basis for him so he keeps up with his natural diet. As soon as he can fly fully again, a release will be possible.

A young male spider monkey. We estimate him to be about 4 to 5 months old. He seems a bit skinny and we had to remove a bullet from his inner leg. Young monkeys who have been kept as pets can often have bullet fragments in their bodies, from when they were captured.

Eight yellow-footed tortoises, all saved from being eaten! They were confiscated while being on their way to the food market. In this part of Peru, tortoises are unfortunately still a common dish for many locals.

Amora, an adult chestnut-eared aracari, was confiscated, together with Koda, a yellow and blue macaw, Denani a scarlet macaw, Rio, a red and green macaw, Tilo, a Tui parakeet, Omar, a cobalt winged parakeet, Zuna, a yellow crowned Amazon parrot, and three blue headed parrots; Athena, Ares and Zeus. They all seemed well fed, although several have cut feathers. They were pets for some time, so after the quarantine they will join the other in the different aviaries.

Construction and other

February proved another very busy month in construction.

Thanks to some extra material still available we were able to complete the rebuilding of the Araña enclosure, one of the old structures with wooden posts. It is now a solid enclosure, with metal tubes and able to resist the climate of the jungle.

As mentioned in last update, thanks to the SUSY Utzinger Association in Switzerland we are now able to finance the construction of the new cats’ enclosures. All mesh has arrived and the area has been cleared, some more sand and cement and we are good to go!

As Bronco, the capibara, is starting to outgrow the Momo enclosure (the garden surrounding the cabin which Alexandra is occupying) he is becoming restless. The renewing of the Xena and Rincay enclosures became more urgent. Xena and Rincay are two of our open enclosures built in the earlier years for animals that are unable to climb (think capibara, peccaries, deer or tapirs). The replacement of the wooden posts was planned in 2020 but were delayed. After a short inspection, Douwe soon found out that one of the enclosures needed a bit more than only the replacement of the posts, basically totally new fencing around the enclosure of about 30 m2.

Douwe, Geyler and the construction team took advantage of the recent rain deluge and were able to take a huge part of the sand and new mesh required for these constructions as well as for the new cat enclosures to site by the flooding stream that runs through Esperanza Verde. A welcome reprieve limiting the need to carry 90kg rolls of mesh the full distance from the main river to site.

Volunteers life

We were happy to welcome back Emma and Kim, two former volunteers who stayed with us during the first lockdown period of covid.

Sadly it is also the end for our Swiss volunteer Janick who stayed with us for a total of 10 months. He will now go over to working full time on his boat so that he soon can start his new journey across the Amazon river. Janick has written earlier about his boat-project and fundraising for Esperanza Verde, and soon he will start his dream. Thank you Janick and we wish you the absolute best on your way to the Atlantic ocean!

We thank Philipp, Florian and Lukas for their visit, their ongoing help, and always being there for us helping us with all your expertise. We are happy you are all part of the big family of EV and we hope you enjoyed your stay, and could see and experience now firsthand what your help has and is achieving here at EV. A special thanks to Philipp from all the volunteers, as has become our own personal night walk guide which was super interesting and highly appreciated by all!