February 2024 Newsletter

The volunteers, passion, and ideas have been flowing while the rainy season is in full swing. With a full volunteer house and the arrival of a rare animal, we’re happy February had one extra day this year.


Coya (female Woolly monkey) has made the big move outside! She arrived 6 months ago and has been safely getting to know the rest of the woolly gang from inside the Loki enclosure. Her desire for human connection seems to have worn off as she was showered with hugs and attention (especially from the male woollies) as soon as she poked her head out of the enclosure.

Ronin (male juvenile jaguarundi) is a big fan of playing in the water and searching for his hidden food packages – he’s full of energy and has an undoubtedly playful spirit. We’re not sure who gets happier when he’s given new toys, the volunteers or Ronin – either way, it’s pure joy.

With officials from the Ministry visiting, several animals were released back into the jungle, yay! Both the yellow-spotted river turtles from the quarantine and the young ones from the clinic received a clean bill of health – into the river to stretch their legs and explore they went! Some stuck around popping their heads up as if to say goodbye, or just get some air… Goodbye or not, we never get tired of the feeling of a successful release.

Trumpet birds Hubi and Ludi got a ‘soft release’ – during the day they have been out and about, free to socialize, explore, and learn where to find food. Returning to their enclosure for a tasty afternoon meal and a good night’s sleep. Well, now they are roaming freely around EV, independent and happy as ever.

Garuda’s (roadside hawk) time in quarantine came to an end and as soon as she saw the open door she spread her wings and gracefully took back her freedom.

Mushu and Moana (juvenile woolly monkeys) were joined by Sinya (juvenile woolly monkey) in their outdoor enclosure. The new impressions don’t seem to phase Sinya in the slightest, she is already itching to join Mushu and Moana on their daily outings. How do you tell a monkey that patience is indeed a virtue…

Susy Utzinger Orphan Animal Hospital

Waldo (male howler monkey) also arrived, but because howlers are a very delicate species, we took him to the clinic, so that we could keep an extra eye on him. And he’s doing great! Eating his weight in veggies, enjoying freshly picked leaves and daily visits from fellow howler monkey Maida. She is giving him a warm welcome with loads of motherly love through the fence.

Moyo (male adult woolly monkey) and Yanamayu (male adult large-headed capuchin) haven’t been getting along in the Loki cage. Yanamayu has been bullying Moyo a lot, which we think is the reason Moyo has been struggling with parasites. After receiving treatment in the clinic, we decided to move Moyo to the La Sapa enclosure, where he and Darwin (male adult howler monkey) are happily chilling together.


It wouldn’t be a normal month here without new arrivals and sure enough, they came. It’s with mixed emotions that we welcome them. Of course, we are happy for them to be with us, getting a second chance at a better future. But every arrival reminds us too of all the animals in need and that there is more work to do still, which is why we are so grateful for the Esperanza Verde community and every person and company that supports us in providing education and rehabilitation. Thank you!

Choco was the first one to arrive. A young adult male capuchin who has spent his life tied up in a garden. Sadly, this means his adjustment period will be quite long. But another male juvenile capuchin Fasso arrived not long after. They needed some time to get to know and trust each other, but now they seem to be the best of roommates – swinging, playing, and monkeying around together.

The capuchins’ quarantine neighbour is a curious but nervous male juvenile spider monkey – Rupano. We are excited for him to get outside, find his confidence, and join Ashuke, Allesi and Miyo aka: The Spider Boys.

For the first time in Esperanza Verde history, we have received a giant river otter. With only a few thousand of them left in the world, getting to care for and rehabilitate one is a great honour. Despite being almost 1 metre long, Caucho is only a baby, and he still has a lot of growing to do! Fully grown giant river otters can get up to 1.8 metres long and weigh a whopping 26kg – the ‘giant’ part of the species name isn’t just for fun…

Giant otters are very social, so naturally, Caucho cries as soon as he’s alone. He loves playtime in the small stream, where he’s learning how to find his webbed feet in the water. As he’s not able to catch fish on his own yet, Marlon and the team are in a fishing frenzy! Now, our primary concern is to give this (giant) baby stability and care, then we’ll work out the best solution for his future.

We also welcomed the blue-and-yellow macaw Wasabi, two yellow-footed tortoises Lockla and Oscu, and two anacondas named Obara and Kowhai, and all of a sudden, all the spaces in quarantine were filled again, we can’t say we’re that surprised though.

Construction and other

The foundation of the Tiliku enclosure has been laid and a part of the new mesh is already up, exciting! Just a couple of weeks until it’s ready to home one or more creatures.

The governor of Ucayali, Sr. Gambini, was visiting Bello Horizonte to put the first stones for the new road to Curimana. As an advocate for conservation, he honoured us with a visit together with the mayor of Curimana, representatives of the Ministry of Fauna and the director of the zoo in Pucallpa. Olivia and Douwe showed them around, explaining the importance of the work we do here.

Volunteer life

Yeah…. all the beds in the Volohouse are taken! Some of them even for a long time, as several have been extending their stay… too much fun here huh? We have two interns who are staying for five months, as part of their studies at Animal Management in Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands. The same school Olivia and Douwe went to. New care protocols are on the horizon!

A familiar face has returned – Veterinarian Samira! She spent 2 months with us last year. Together with Carlotta, they will form a great vet team for the next six months.

With such a big team, we have more time for enrichment for the animals. Making toys, hiding their food in packages or spreading scents that stimulate the animals. Happy animals and happy volunteers, since it’s also enrichment to their workdays, we’re all animals at the end of the day, no?

Do you want to experience the beauty of the jungle yourself? Come join us!

¡Hasta Proxima!