May 2023 Newsletter

Cabbage, lettuce, spinach and various foliage was in high demand this month… Why you ask? Well, it involves a lot of moving, releasing, and the arrival of the Ministy of Flora and Fauna. You’ll just have to read to find out the rest.


A blooming 28 reptiles returned to their natural habitat. The local Ministry of Flora and Fauna joined us to release eight Yellow-footed tortoises and nineteen Yellow-spotted river turtles. They’re back basking in the sun, waddling through dense vegetation, and swimming in the rapid rivers surrounding Esperanza Verde. Lakosta (young spectacled caiman) also found their way back to freedom. We hope their second chance gives them a new lease on life! 

Payco (adult male crab-eating raccoon) has recovered well, albeit with less of a tail, see the last newsletter, he swiftly took his chance for freedom when we opened his enclosure door. 

Quarantine came to an exciting end for Noa (juvenile spider monkey) and Juanita (female juvenile woolly monkey). Despite the difference in species and character, excitable Noa and laid-back Juanita seem to be getting on well. Their visit from Moana (female juvenile woolly monkey) was welcomed and we can’t wait for them to find their place in the outside group when their time comes. 

The puzzling and sad loss of three Amazon parrots Ulisho, Kit and Rhagear in the Pichu Aviary has been solved. As it happened at night, Douwe (male adult homo sapiens) decided to hang up his hammock to take the first shift of the stake out. It didn’t take long until the perpetrator showed up. A young fer-de-lance (a very venomous snake) was luring under one of the feeding tables. Because juvenile fer-de-lances haven’t learned how to control their venom, it wasn’t big enough to eat the birds, but sadly venomous enough to kill. Douwe caught it, and after all the volunteers got a good look (so they know what to watch out for), he relocated it far-far away from Esperanza Verde.

After a week of worrying with no one spotting him, Alessi (male juvenile spider monkey) reappeared healthy and happy! A wonderful reminder to not give up hope too quickly as these adventurous animals never seize to surprise us. We aren’t, after all, called Esperanza Verde for nothing. 

In other joyous news, Maruja (female adult woolly monkey), gave birth to her second baby!

Susy Utzinger Orphan Animal Hospital

After putting on more weight and eager for company, Panchin (almost adult male woolly monkey), is giving outside-life another go. He has spent many weeks in the clinic so we’re hoping this time it’s for good. 

Unfortunately, the spot in the clinic didn’t stay empty for long. Morena (adult female woolly monkey) was spotted lethargic laying on the ground, not being her normal happy self. She’s getting intensive care in the clinic, with extra attention and efforts to stimulate her appetite, while we try to get to the root of her behavioural change. 

Moana (juvenile female woolly monkey) wasn’t herself either. Given her young age, she now spends mornings and nights in the clinic being monitored. After breakfast she joins Juanita and Noa in their outside cage for the day. She seems to be getting back on track, tentatively playing with mischievous Noa and steeling food from Juanita. 

A huge swelling was found under Wanda’s (scarlet macaw) wing. We now know why! She’s the only survivor of a fer-de-lance bite. With careful care we hope that she will get full use of her wing again, until then, we’ll just have to play the waiting game.  

Zuna (yellow-crowned amazon) finished her treatment and is back in the more spacious Elmo enclosure again.


he Ministry of Flora and Fauna rarely arrives empty-handed, and this time was no exception. We welcomed a staggering 65 yellow-footed tortoises at an average of six kilo each (who needs the gym?). A journey that involved traveling by car, boat, and many helping hands. We had to make the most of our quarantine space to accommodate the new arrivals. Our amazing vet team got busy checking their faeces, deworming them, weighing, and measuring them, and inserting microchips for identification. They also had the exhilarating job of getting rid of ticks! The tortoises are doing great in our care, getting regular food and attention. These incredible creatures were saved from being sold for meat and now have a second chance at freedom.

After all the personnel from the Ministry and Esperanza Verde finished carrying the tortoises, someone remembered another confiscated animal! Yuna, a young female night monkey, was still sitting in a box in the car. We promptly retrieved her and took her into our care. Arthur, our assistant manager, will provide intensive care for her since she is too young to stay alone in quarantine. Fortunately, his cabin is nearby, so volunteers have been frequently visiting to catch a glimpse of this adorable little one.

And as last newcomer we welcomed Don Pancho, a Mealy Amazon parrot, rescued from the illegal pet industry. Poor guy, he does not like humans, and oh so understandable! During examination we found a string still tightly wrapped around his claw, causing the loss of two of his toes. We sure will do our best to make him feel at home at Esperanza Verde some extra TLC!


Since there were no major construction projects, Geyler, Regner, Craig, and Douwe focused mainly on maintenance work. They also made regular trips to gather bananas, leaves, papayas, and other supplies from the plantation. Tasks such as installing new branches in enclosures and restoring paths and steps were among the many jobs on their list.

Volunteer life

We hit the jackpot with extra volunteers this month! Not only did we welcome five new ones, but guess who else popped in? Sigrid, Olivia’s good friend. The volunteers couldn’t stop raving about her culinary wizardry, especially when we all gather for our Friday night communal cooking! She didn’t only bring bangin’ food, she packed a karaoke microphone which is frequently used during bonfire nights or our so-called ‘Black Pista’ shenanigans. Who knew this classic Dutch student tradition would conquer the jungle? With themed rooms containing creative cobwebs, luscious leafy creations, and games galore!

The volunteers got some guests too – tiny, super-efficient cleaners who weren’t exactly the life of the party. Ants! Those little creatures invaded the volunteer kitchen and must have been laughing at us as we danced around on top of chairs and benches trying to avoid their feisty bites. Life in the jungle is a constant adventure, full of surprises and challenges that keep us on our toes!

Hasta proxima amigos!