January 2020 Newsletter

Happy New Year from Esperanza Verde! We started the New Year traditionally with the burning of a handmade puppet, representing the past year, and giving 2020 a fresh start. It was a great evening with nice pizza and traditional Dutch “oliebollen”.



Moira and Maru (female and male Ma’s night monkey) in the Tiliku cage, near the family house, were released through the small hatch at the back of the cage. At first they were a bit hesitant, but soon Maru climbed out of the cage. Shortly after Moira joined him, and we could hear and see them jumping around in the trees in front of their cage. The hatch is now open all of the time, so they have the option to go in and out whenever they want. Usually they go out at the end of the day, to return in the early morning to the comfort of an enclosure with food and a hollow log to sleep in.

Chula, the daughter of Cumala (female spider monkey) is very inquisitive and looks around at everything from her mothers back. Her big black eyes seem to take in all the activity happening around her. A very alert baby, and her mother loves showing her around.

Nikita, one of our adult female capuchins, showed up with a new born. Last year she lost her baby after several weeks, and we hope this time she will be more lucky. Nikita is one of the capuchins that doesn’t show up every day, as she spends most of her time further away with the squirrel monkeys. So far she has come by to show us her baby twice, so we are hoping for another peak at the new born soon!



This month it was time for Manto (scarlet macaw) to move out of the clinic. First he moved to the Pichu Aviary front cage, so that he could have some contact with the other 5 scarlet macaws. After a week we opened the door for him towards to enter the main aviary area. We were curious how it would go since we have two bullies amongst our macaws (Mebi and Ruiz (the only green winged macaw), but Manto is a good flyer and has kept his distance.

Ewia, the ruddy ground dove with the broken wing, has had an amazing recovery. After some time in a bigger cage at the clinic to strengthen her muscles she was successfully introduced to the birds in Igor, joining her friend Hercules again. She has been doing well ever since.


SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

Ezra (young female white fronted capuchin) and Daytona (young female large headed capuchin) were brought to the new outside cage, Lulu, so Ezra could meet the outside monkeys. Tonka, the only Andean saddleback tamarin joined them, so they can all be released together. Although in nature tamarins and capuchins don´t always do well together, Tonka proved to be tough enough to handle some young capuchins. He gets a pick of which capuchin he sleeps on, as both seem to enjoy his company a lot.

The clinic became busy when some of our white winged parakeets developed problems, prolapsed cloacas. We decided to catch all 65 of them and take the ones with symptoms to the clinic. The majority were moved to the quarantine. These can all fly and didn’t show symptoms. Two groups moved to the clinic, ones that can’t fly and a group requiring treatment. All groups got a generalized treatment, as we have still not determined the cause of the illness. Even with all the help from our International network of veterinarians, we have not been able to determine the cause. In the jungle we can only do so much with the techniques we have available to us.
Fortunately, with all of the help we were able to set up a good treatment protocol, with specific hygiene rules, and we seem to have stopped the spread and contained the problem. These poor parakeets have been through a lot already, as these all are the last of a group that arrived in March 2019, with the fungal disease Aspergillosis. We hope by telling this story people will have less incentive to buy animals from the wild. For every animal that survives being caught many don’t make it.

Chosko (male kinkajou) moved out of the clinic to the Lucia cage. The first day, the outside monkeys kept him awake as they all wanted to introduce themselves to the new animal. As if this was not enough excitement for Chosko, the outside male kinkajou, Kiko, visited him and was chasing him around the cage, from the outside. Finally it all calmed down and he could go to sleep in his box.


New arrivals

Alaya was the first arrival of the year. She is a young female howler monkey. She was handed over to Kayla in Bello Horizonte, where someone left her in a box. She had a rope tied around her, and was most likely recently caught from the wild. This means her mother was probably killed and eaten, and she was taken to be held or sold as a pet. Whilst she was clearly not used to being handled, without our intervention, she would not survive on her own.
At first she did not want to eat anything, but as soon as we brought in Armando, our youngest male howler, she started eating within minutes. Since then, she has spent many hours, day and night, with him. She eats well and is already trusting enough to take some milk, which is a vital step for her continued health. Recently she also joined the other males, Darwin and Ramon, during the late afternoon and night. For now she stays in during the day, but soon we will let her out together with the rest during the mornings.

One night, Douwe and Olivia heard a sound coming from the stream near their house. Douwe went into the water and found a very young night monkey trying, but unable, to climb out of the water. After taking her out and drying her, they put her outside in a tree in the hope that the mother would show up and take her with her. The baby was calling out for almost two hours but her mother didn’t show up. The attempt continued as the baby continued to call and was avoiding human contact. Unfortunately only Moira (our recently released female nightmonkey) was seen nearby. So at the end she was taken in. We have named her Kira and she is now in care of Douwe and Olivia.

Sakura, an adult female paca and Rimona, a green winged macaw, were brought by the Ministry, who confiscated them from an individual traveling by boat to Pucallpa, most likely to sell them. They are both tame, especially Rimona, so have probably been in captivity for some time already. For now they are at the clinic, where they will stay for their quarantine period.


Construction and other

The kitchen extension Douwe and Geiler started to build last month was painted by the volunteers and soon will be enriched with the football table Douwe got Olivia for her birthday. It was thrown away in the bushes in the village, and Douwe could get it for almost nothing. He restored it beautifully, and the family already got to enjoy it a lot at their house.
Apart from the kitchen, maintenance took most of the work of Douwe, fixing water problems, upgrading the structures in several cages, while Geiler also worked a lot at the quarantine, doing the fine cementing (walls and floors).
As if there was not enough to do, something else came up… A night of very heavy rainfall, even worse than usual, resulted in a collapsed bridge, the one that connects the family house to the rest of Esperanza Verde. Douwe and Olivia and the kids will have to take a detour for the coming months, as it will take some time to rebuild.
For more than half a year now we have been looking for someone who can assist Geiler, but unfortunately most people here only want to work short periods of time. Luckily one of the volunteers with us now, offered to work more days of the week on construction instead of with the animals. This will really help us to get things done.



The daily work that is done by volunteers is divided into different tours, each volunteer being responsible for several animals. For many years now they were divided into 3 tours: Resident tour, Monkey tour and Baby monkey tour. This month we decided to change this and divide the work into 4 tours. This has several advantages, of which the most important is that now there is more time for creating enrichment for the animals. It is great to see how the animals enjoy the enrichment projects made for them, from smelly tubes for the cats to a tent for the young capuchins.