January 2023 Newsletter

Although the political situation in Peru is worrying, things in our region have calmed down a lot. Lima and Pucallpa Airport are fully functioning and people can safely travel to Esperanza Verde. Just like last month, our weekly shopping has been affected, with very little or basically nothing arriving and prices rising through the roof. The rainy season is in full swing too, which adds to the tricky logistics of getting it all delivered. But not to worry, we’ve been in the jungle long enough to know how to ride the frequent ups and downs of being in the middle of nowhere. 

Anyways, let’s get on with the things you opened this email for… the animals!


A while ago we released Otis (male night monkey), and after not seeing him for some time, we were worried the worst had happened. But Otis luckily knows where to go if he needs some help. Douwe found him hanging out by the clinic. After a quick inspection, we removed a bunch of botfly larvae and saw that his old knee problem seems to be in the past. Soon he’ll be out and about again, and we’ll always welcome him with open arms if he comes back for more help. 

Last month we moved Kulua (common potoo) to a bigger enclosure, where she excitedly waited for crickets caught by volunteers. Sadly, she was found laying on the floor lifeless one morning. The cause of her death is unknown, but what we do know is that her cute sounds and cricket-crunching will be missed. 

And as if the day wasn’t sad enough, a volunteer favourite, Bronco (adult capybara) was also found dead in his enclosure. It truly came as a shock. The day before he was still happily grinding his teeth at Olivia (his standard response to her passing by on her way home). We assume, as the necropsy didn’t give us a cause, that whatever took Bronco’s life was very acute and that he passed away quickly. Basco (adult male capybara) is now all on his own, but he’ll always have a friend in the volunteers.  

Semi-captivity means that the animals at Esperanza Verde can come and go as they please, and that’s exactly what Anishka (female neotropical river otter) has been doing for a while. Popping in for a treat or a sleepover outside her enclosure. It’s a good sign and one of independence, but of course, we’re natural worriers and we can’t help but wonder what she’s up to now that we haven’t spotted her for over a month. Hopefully, she’s finally made her way back into the wild, maybe joined by a mate? We sure do miss her though.

Lino and Mancha (spix’s guans or chachalacas, we’re still undecided…) have moved out of Olivia’s office and into an outside enclosure. They’re loving the extra space and to be frank, so is Olivia. They were enthusiastic poopers and it was getting harder and harder for her to get anything done in her home office. Just further proof that wild animals do not make good pets… spread the word!

In more upbeat news, the three male opossums Grisom, Blakum and Rodus (what’s up with the medieval names?) have moved out from Olivia’s crowded office and freely roam outside around the family house. 

Susy Utzinger Orphan Animal Hospital

There has been a baby bird boom. Another two fledglings were found abandoned near the local school in the village. We think they’re thrush species, but as always with little baby birds, it’s very hard to be sure. At this early stage in their life, they’re very sensitive and one passed away soon after it arrived. Nick, our ‘resident’ volunteer quickly assumed the role of birdy father, and he’s doing it very well, the survivor, now named Spiro, is thriving!

The new male squirrel monkey Milo has joined Sipra (female tamarin) in her outside enclosure. She needs a same-sized ally to help her find her place in the outside-monkey group, keeping an eye out for capuchins that might just play a bit too rough with her. Maybe Milo is the perfect monkey for the job? We sure hope so. 


With the current climate, our main focus has been getting enough veggies and fruit for both the animals and volunteers. A lot of hours have been spent harvesting at La Finca Organica Don Jorge (our organic plantation), which has been a huge help in buffing out of food supply during these times. Thank you for all the hard work Douwe and co!

Volunteer life

New year, new energy! That’s what the kids say nowadays, right? The start of the year saw few volunteers but they’re beginning to trickle in, one by one. We hope to see your face in the jungle at some point this year, we’re always looking for an extra set of hands. 

Olivia went back to the Netherlands and saw a lot of familiar faces. It must have been strange seeing old volunteers in normal, clean, clothes and lacking the jungle glow from the humidity. If you want to find out about future reunions, make sure to join the Facebook group ‘Volunteers of Esperanza Verde’. Ideas were exchanged and enthusiasm was overflowing. Hopefully, we’ll see you at the next one. 

There’s this platform called Instagram, have you heard of it? We’re a bit late to the game but we’ve brought our page back to life. With everything from wildlife spotting’s and animal care to the daily life of a volunteer and interviews! Check out our latest post here → https://www.instagram.com/esperanzaverdeperu/

Hasta luego!