October 2022 Newsletter

WOW. This has been the busiest month we’ve had in years. Rammed with reptiles, reptiles, some reptiles, and you guessed it… more reptiles. Get ready for a big, giant update on all the new arrivals and the tough, challenging yet rewarding work we get to do at Esperanza Verde. 

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UPA (a Peruvian Animal Charity) reached out to us with the news that a large group of reptiles had been confiscated at Lima airport, and they wanted to know if we could take them in. Alongside a representative from the Peruvian ministry of Flora and Fauna – Douwe, Dylan (veterinarian and reptile specialist) and Anna (volunteer and professional videographer who made this : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8m1sVTes2Bc) went to Pucallpa Airport to retrieve the scaly, cold-blooded, egg-laying but oh-so-cute creatures. 

Caiman lizards in quarantine
Caiman lizard taking a swim

15 caiman lizards, 26 yellow footed baby tortoises and 38 mata mata turtles arrived at Esperanza Verde. We were prepared and ready, this wasn’t our first rodeo, but the condition of the reptiles caught us off guard, especially the caiman lizards. This specie doesn’t eat when it’s cold and because they spent 1,5 months in chilly Lima before arriving, they were starved and their immune system was compromised. Sadly only five of the original 15 are still alive today. But these five are fighters! Enjoying every single snail the volunteers catch for them to eat (which is their main source of food in the wild).

Thanks to dedicated care from Nick (head volunteer), Douwe and fishing frenzy volunteers the mata mata turtles are doing well. With a steady supply of tiny fish for the tiny turtles our hard work is rewarded watching the mata matas gobble the fish up like vacuum monsters (see for yourself : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SPh3qbCZS9E).

Most of the yellow footed tortoises weigh under 100g and were seemingly doing fine. But it turns out bacteria and parasites have taken advantage of their weakened immune system. But rest assured, they are being constantly cared for, with the sickest ones staying in a homemade nursery made by Olivia. 

Just as we were getting back into the routine of it all – 211 yellow spotted river turtles arrived – we weren’t lying when we said it’s been a month rammed with reptiles. 

But these turtles were different – 15 days old and ready to be released. They arrived as a part of a conservation project between INNOVA (a local school) and SERNANP (a government organisation). Together with students, parents and officials the turtles were released in the stream that runs through Esperanza Verde. A well-needed beautiful breather amongst the heartache of losing so many animals earlier on in the month. Rescuing animals is hard work, but it pays in moments like these. 

What about the other animals we hear you say… Last month’s newcomer Basco (male capybara) has moved from the quarantine into an enclosure next to fellow resident capybara Bronco (male). They’re still apart, but one step closer to becoming friends (we hope).  

And for those who are curious, Nera’s (female capuchin monkey) baby has been named Nelda and she’s doing very well! 

The bird group at EV has received few newcomers as well. A scarlet macaw, named Onanti-Papa. He´s been raised by locals from when he was bald, most likely taken from his nest. He´s now spending some time together with Aleesa one of the residents macaws to learn more birdy behaviours.

Two baby cobalt-winged parakeets, Hano and Gado, have joined us in the clinic. They were still partly featherless and blueless, but we are doing everything we can to get them flying soonish…

SUST Animal Orphan Hospital

Kayla joined the team going to Pucallpa, but her task was a bit hairier. The ministry had two female woolly monkeys that needed to be looked after while making their way to us, and who better than Kayla? She’s been teaching monkeys how to climb since she was two! Moana is only 5 weeks old, which meant Kayla acted as her mum, keeping her safe the whole journey to the jungle. Once she arrived Alex (assistant manager) took over as her surrogate mum and with the help of all the volunteers, we hope to raise another strong female woolly monkey. 

Morena (the other new female woolly monkey) is about five years old, she’s very used to people and she’s missing her right hand but seems to manage just fine without it. We’re more concerned about her long history of being a pet affecting her ability to switch her focus from humans to monkeys. It will be challenging for her in the beginning, but we’ve seen worse and the outside monkeys will hopefully kindly show her the ropes. She’ll be moved to an outside enclosure soon and hopefully out climbing, playing and making friends in no-time! 


Busy with the new arrivals all our major construction has been put on hold for the time being. Most of our spare time is spent on maintenance, fishing and hunting for snails!

Volunteer life

While we’ve been working our busy butts off in the jungle, EVI (Esperanza Verde’s International Association) spent a whole weekend in Germany, brainstorming new and fresh ideas to further our mission to protect and rehabilitate wildlife. A huge thank you to them!

In other news, we’ve had a birthday-bonanza this month. Both Marlon and Olivia celebrated their birthdays! To praise another year of being older and (a little) wiser, we naturally had a Nerfgun party. (No one was harmed, except a few egos).

Hasta November amigos!

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