March 2020 Newsletter

COVID-19 has seen a worldwide escalation in travel and social restrictions. Esperanza Verde has been carefully monitoring the situation in our local region to ensure we are up to date with the most current information, and are able to make careful decisions on what is a rapidly evolving issue, to assure the safety of all volunteers, staff and animals.
Currently non-essential travel is not allowed within the country and as the month ended international flights into or out of Peru ceased. Although EV is not currently able to receive any new volunteers, we are fortunate that there are existing volunteers who are able to stay a little longer.
We continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, and make key decisions based on the most current information available.
As you read on, you will notice that the animals, and thus the general work, is not greatly affected by the situation for the time being.

Every month at Esperanza Verde can offer something different and this month was no different. Douwe, Olivia and the family continued a well-deserved vacation away from E.V and although absent it was extremely comforting to all, knowing that the wealth of their knowledge and assistance was only a phone call away.
New animals, new volunteers and new challenges, but as is often the case the team reacted as required and the month ran as smoothly as anticipated.


Luna and Otis

March saw all of our Ma’s Night Monkeys back in enclosures. Moira and Maru were both losing weight, so they have been enclosed to allow for closer monitoring of their health and diet. Otis had an injured foot, and being such a social animal, both he and Luna were closed into Tupac to allow Otis time to be medicated and observed. While Luna and Otis are in Tupac, it was a great opportunity to introduce our newest addition Kira (baby Night monkey), and get them comfortable in each other’s company. Kira is now spending time with a senior volunteer within Tupac most evenings, and although still apprehensive appears to be growing in confidence daily. Kira moved to the clinic briefly in March as space permitted but as you will see, a busy month in the SUSTAOH meant Olivia, Douwe and the family took responsibility for Kira with her moving back to a smaller cage in their attic.
In the closing days of the month all four night monkeys were released from their respective enclosures and life has returned to normal for them. As is always the case we continue to monitor their weights and general wellbeing.

Lulu became one of the latest enclosures to liberate its residents this month. Daytona (female large headed capuchin monkey) and Tonka (male Andean saddleback Tamerin) readily accepted the newfound freedom, but with the option to be enclosed in the evenings if they wish.

Ezra meet Biko in Lulu cage after opening door

Ezra (Spix white chested capuchin) was not so quick to embrace emancipation, finding the experience of mixing with other monkeys all rather daunting. For the next few days dedicated volunteers observed Ezra outside ensuring they were available if she was struggling or became lost.

Alaya, (female Howler monkey) could give lessons to the other howlers about monkeying outside. Alaya now spends the occasional evening outside. As she has spent very little time in the company of humans, she is very independent and often snubs the idea of milk in the evenings in favour of freedom within the trees. Alaya’s weight has remained consistent since being introduced to Arana enclosure last month illustrating how well she has adapted to her new surroundings and enclosure.

Other Animals

Sakura (female Agouti Paca) was always going to be released, but it seems patience is not a virtue and Sakura liberated herself twice before the decision was made to let nature run its course and allow her that which she so obviously desired. Sakura is still fed nightly and ironically it appears she sleeps just outside where she was in MoMo enclosure.


Another escape artist this month was a volunteer favourite who has been sighted since but is somewhat elusive. Fonzo (male cabybara), took advantage of a sudden deluge of water and the resulting hole underneath a cement drain. It is very unusual for Fonzo to miss a meal so it was quickly discovered that something was amiss. Douwe and Olivia spent many hours after dark until midnight that evening trying to catch or encourage Fonzo back into Rincay enclosure but he didn’t oblige. Being that there were only tortoises sharing the enclosure, Douwe made it so Fonzo was able to let himself in for the next few days but again it was not meant to be. We know there is plenty of food available to a Capybara around E.V and can only hope Fonzo can stay away from predators.


Ruiz and Rimona (male and female green winged macaw) have now joined the blue and yellow macaws in the main aviary of Elmo enclosure. All the birds appear comfortable with their new living arrangements with Ruiz and Rimona remaining comfortable in each other’s company.

Rafiki (blue and yellow macaw), has had another big month with modifications being made to his cage, allowing him to be moved into the living area in the volunteer house. Rafiki thrives on the extra attention and with his cage modifications hygiene is easier to maintain leaving everyone more time to enjoy his company.

SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

Last month’s new arrivals had a mixed bag for the month with the three Amazons joining the parakeets in Aguatena, as all of these birds are just awaiting feather regrowth prior to being released.

Angelito (yellow footed tortoise) remained in the clinic for most of the month until clear of parasites. Angelito was released and Diablito (yellow footed tortoise) opted for freedom, after a door was inadvertently left ajar, these two may discover each other again in the future.

Flora, one of the three

Flora (orange winged amazon) was another animal enjoying the accommodations at the family house. Space became a premium within the SUST AOH so while still in her quarantine and unable to join the other amazons in the Pichu aviary, Flora relaxed with all the comforts of home and the hospitality of Douwe, Olivia and family, prior to successful release into Pichu with the existing Amazons and Scarlett Macaws.

New arrivals

As is often the case, Douwe and Olivia passing through Pucallpa on holiday, generally results in new animals joining Esperanza Verde.

Kassai sticking tong out
Kassai having a moment outside

Kassai (tamandua mexiana) was only a few weeks old when brought back from Pucallpa, and although it can be touch and go with an animal of this age, Kassai is gaining weight through the diligence of both Olivia and Douwe. Having such a young animal living within your house can upset all sorts of routines and sleeping patterns, but it is just another example of the steps taken to ensure every animal gets the best survival opportunities.

Two other animals to join the fray on the families return were Alu (Andean Saddleback Tamarin) and Shimi (Squirrel Monkey) who were obtained by a previous volunteer who is working on another project in Pucallpa. Both Alu and Shimi will share a cage within SUSTAOH through their quarantine period.

Douwe and Olivia were fortunate enough to have fore warning of the imminent arrival of many animals from the ministry in Pucallpa shortly after they came back from holiday. Where possible, cages were made ready and animals were moved. Although prior notice was given, final numbers, conditions of animals and their care needs are never truly realised until they arrive.

The following animals arrived :

  • Three yellow crowned amazons, of which one died two days later, a fungal infection being the cause of death. The others are doing well and were named Upendi and Inuka.
Weighing Ashanti arrival day
  • A very young scarlet macaw Ashanti. She still needs syringe and hand feeding until she will be able to feed herself.
  • Three yellow footed tortoises; Europa, Asia and Brutus
  • A young female agouti; Margarita
Bea release day
  • A Red tailed Boa, Bea. At nearly 8.5 kg and over 2.5 meters, Bea was an incredibly beautiful creature. She was only kept long enough for her to shed her skin, prior to being released away from the facilities
  • A sub-adult female tree porcupine, Casha. Casha stayed long enough to have treatment for any unwanted parasites and to confirm her health status before being successfully released one evening to enjoy her own independence.
Aiska in her pond
  • A young Neotropical River Otter, Aiska. Unfortunately after a week of seemingly doing well, she showed some fatigue when going on a walk to the stream for a swim. As she had just been well and active and enjoying her fish, we were not too concerned. Unfortunately within 48 hours we found her non-responsive and cold. Efforts were made to revive her, but were unsuccessful. Although she was only briefly with us, she found a place in many hearts with her joy full greeting every time you went into her enclosure.
  • Sub adult female paka; Kapa
  • A young female red uakari; Zola. Esperanza Verde traditionally does not accept animals that are not native to the region, but given the options and the chance at survival otherwise, chose to accept this unique monkey. We hope she connects well the existing monkeys. She eats a very similar diet to both the Howler monkey and the Saki monkey.
Zola and Kaira eating in Arana
  • A juvenile female Jurua red howler Monkey; Kaira
Katara, razor billed currasow
  • A razor billed curassow; Katara
  • Two large headed capuchin monkeys; Kaliba and Selda
Caimen health check
  • Five spectacled or white caimans.

Construction and other

Volonteers staying postive

This month saw on-going progress on both the quarantine and the new margay enclosure. Weather and other “distractions” permitting, it is envisaged that the new margay enclosure will be completed in the next week, named Pedro, after the sponsor from Holland.
Having volunteers eager to do something a little outside their comfort zone has seen some of the more mundane projects receive a push in the right direction, with old storage sheds removed and excavation completed for a new recycling storage centre, as well as some finishing touches being completed in the quarantine. As is always the case with rainy season still in full swing, paths and drainage are also getting the valuable attention they require.