May 2024 Newsletter

Happy belated Mother’s Day to everyone! We’re not quite sure how the monkeys spend this tradition, but we sure didn’t see any cute drawings, cards or gifts being handed out. We hope all our newsletter-reading mothers were celebrated with more fanfare than our big spider monkey mamas Yanay and Cumala.


Thanks to our 15 hardworking volunteers, tasks are being checked off our never-ending to-do list faster than a capuchin can sneak through an unlocked door.

We upped the difficulty level of the work by releasing three very excited and verbal ladies Mina, Dina and Syenna (female squirrel monkeys). Mina and Dina have already had one to two hours of supervised outside time each day. With Syenna’s arrival, a soft release seemed appropriate.

They’ve been doing amazingly well, getting the hang of the monkey tables’ pull-up system, standing their ground so firmly that even Martin (dominant male woolly monkey) doesn’t dare to get in their way.

We love that many of you have asked for news about Kelso (young male two-toed sloth) and Kasmir (young male tamandua) and you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re doing exceptionally well. Kelso and Tom (male homo sapiens intern) have been developing quite the “bromance”. Kelso seems to only let Tom take him to the plantation for his outside trips – very cute. Tom and Douwe have prepared a lovely outside enclosure for Kelso, and he seems to be loving it. At the rate he’s learning to climb, he’ll likely have moved out of the family house by the time Olivia returns from the Netherlands!

Kasmir has the luxury of being doted on by a team of ‘volo nannies’. They take him on morning and afternoon termite hunts and have introduced him to Kelso on one of his excursions. Although they didn’t hit it off as well as the volunteers had hoped, interspecies friendships can take some time. We’ll keep you updated, of course.

Susy Utzinger Orphan Animal Hospital

If you keep follow our newsletter, you might remember Naka (adult female woolly monkey) sadly had a miscarriage. This month, we observed Morena (adult female woolly monkey) displaying similar behaviours – not eating and irregular breathing. Unfortunately, Morena also ended up having a miscarriage. Unlike Naka, who has fully recovered and is back out with the other monkeys, Morena passed away. It’s always sad when we lose an animal, but Morena’s death took an extra toll on us. She was a true fighter. Life did not give her an easy ride and just as she seemed to catch a break, finding a good rhythm and a family with the other woolly monkeys here, her time was up. She serves as a beautiful and inspiring example to us all, that no matter how long an animal has been a pet, with determination and dedication, we can successfully reintroduce wild animals to the life they’re meant to lead.

Given the number of aviary residents, the Susy Utzinger Orphan Animal Hospital might be mistaken for a bird clinic. Electra (white-winged parakeet) spent a short stint in the clinic with a bad foot. She quickly recovered and returned to the Igor enclosure. We took the opportunity to bring Esco (blue and grey tanager) also to Igor at the same time, as going together with a friendly face is always comforting. He had a bit of bad luck as the first night brought some heavy jungle rain. However, our quick-thinking volunteers woke up and came to his rescue by building a small shelter for the night. He seems to fit in and get along with all his aviary amigos.

Papilo (red-bellied macaw) is enjoying the latest addition to his quarters – a petite paddling pond. Hopefully, he doesn’t get too attached to it, as he did take his first flaps in front of us, indicating he’ll soon be fit for flying in an outside enclosure.


May was a quiet month in the quarantine giving the volunteers time to get to know its temporary residents better.

Valentino (large-headed capuchin male) joined Yanamayo, Selda, Fasso and Choco (see the last newsletter) in the Loki enclosure. The introduction went well, Valentino thoroughly explored every nook and cranny – while keeping a cautious distance. He joins the younger Fasso and Choco for food, which is excellent as we plan to release the three of them soon.

Nintendo (yellow-footed tortoise) upgraded to an outside reptile enclosure, deep in the forest far away from the quarantine’s capuchin sounds. If he could talk, he would probably thank us – you’re welcome, Nintendo!

As we discussed the empty quarantine during our evening round-up, saying how lovely it is to have some extra time on our hands, we were blissfully unaware that the Ministry was already on its way to us with new animals. Three spider monkeys (a baby female Taiga, a juvenile male Huaro, and a juvenile female Saila) and a juvenile female howler monkey Ysaia arrived the next morning.

It will be another challenge for the Esperanza Verde team. They have all been pets, with an unnatural diet of chicken and rice, and are in quite a shabby state. However, since they have each other for warmth and affection, we won’t have to have too much contact with them – a huge positive for their rehabilitation process.

Volunteer life

Our permanent team member Machiko, who’s been with Esperanza Verde for nearly a decade and a half, took the volunteers on many much-appreciated forest walks, sharing his deep knowledge of the vast jungle flora and fauna!

Geyler, our head of construction and maintenance, introduced the team to Suris. These Amazonian grubs are larvae found living in the Aguaje palm tree and are a local jungle delicacy. Almost everyone tried them… would you?

Of course, what would a month at EV be without a trip to Regalia? If you’ve been, you know how magical both the waterfall and the boat ride to get there are. This time, all 12 volunteers jumped from the nearly 8-metre-high cascade! If you regret not taking the jump when you were there, you just have to come back.


It was not only busy in the jungle this month! It was not only busy in the jungle this month! The Netherlands was also full of EV-activity.

Ex-volunteers gathered in Utrecht, for a great afternoon catching up, sharing EV stories and playing games. Some pictures from the jungle mysteriously made their way to Utrecht… igniting a real scavenger hunt.

Members of Esperanza Verde International (EVI) met up in Leiden, to discuss various topics related to EV and outlining our next plans and future goals. See for more information:

Of course, there was also time to catch up, laugh, and hang out. We went to the beach, explored the beautiful city centre of Leiden, and shared many EV stories that reminded us why we’re so passionate about what we do.

¡Hasta Proxima!