In Memory of Churi

Churi, a many-banded aracari arrived at our rescue centre in February 2016. Sadly in January of this year he passed away. Churi was confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade and later brought to Esperanza Verde by the local authorities. Unfortunately his species is not native to our region and so he could not be released back into the wild. During his time at EV he was a favourite of many volunteers and will be dearly missed. Kees Kampschuur and Irene Bonte share their memories :

Churi has passed away.

We have red the sad news about Churi in the update Januari 2018 while we are volunteering in Namibia. I still remember the first time I entered his (or is it her?) cage with a plate of food. It was my first or second day as volunteer. I was told before that it was a friendly bird, a little bit lonesome, so he needed more attention than others. It was not possible to set him free because he was to much focused on humans. Besides that this kind of aracari doesn’t lives in the Esperanza part of Peru.

With that information I entered the cage. Suddenly Churi came out of a corner and jump on the plate. I didn’t expect that, so everything (including Churi) fell on the ground. Fortunately I only let the plate go and didn’t move; Churi sat on the ground just between my feet, looking in my direction and the look in his eyes told me; “Got you!”

After that experience I first look where he was sitting, so I knew from which side he will come. Most of the time he jumped on my arm and than start eating from his plate. Sometimes he sits on my arm and looked to the food and than to me. That was repeated several times. And suddenly I knew; I had to feed to him. Okay it takes some time but why not.

After he has eat his meal. He turned his back to me. I gently pat him ons his back. From his reaction I knew he liked it. And when he likes it, he makes a funny low sound, snoring almost like when you are patting a cat.

We became good friends. If I had some spare time I went to Churi’s cage. Sometimes I took some fruit with me, to hide in his cage or put in one of my shirt pockets. He must find the food. When he smells it, he became excited and try to find out how to get the food.

After a while Churi recognise me and talk “Aracari” to me when he saw me or heard me. At his cage I answered in a combination of Dutch, some English an a little Spanish or making soft click sounds. It must be looking strange. But Churi look to me if he understood me.

As I mentioned before we became good friends. This was quite handy when I want to take some pictures of him. So with my camera I entered the cage. He looks at me and than at the camera, maybe thinking;”That is a strange thing to hide food. Never seen that before, lets have a look.” So he sits quietly and I was able to take some nice pictures.

Because of the fact that he was alone we tried to set him in the cage with the parrots and later with the parakeets. Both didn’t work out, so he returned to his own cage. Somewhere in October 2017 we heard that Churi has an infection on one of his feet and was getting a treatment. Unfortunately the infection took his life. What is staying behind are the memories and of course the pictures.

Kees and Irene