It’s that time again! As always we´ve got plenty to update you on, but we´ll start by saying Happy Easter !
Here at Esperanza Verde we celebrated Good Friday, with lunch and an Easter egg hunt by the waterfall, followed by chocolate eggs and a cake made by our own little dessert queen, Kayla. It was a great day, especially for our winner of the egg hunt, Lara, who got to take home a block of Lindt chocolate!
But it hasn´t all been chocolate and parties this month, with a strike affecting the whole of the Ucayali district for 2 weeks there was a large cut back on food and resources. There were major road blocks between towns, stopping most deliveries of fruit and vegetables so we had to get creative in the kitchen with our limited options, and ration the food for the animals to be as efficient as possible.
Fortunately the strike is now over, and we hope that the issue has been resolved. The strike also has caused a delay in the release of some of our animals, as there was no way for the ministry advisors to reach us with the necessary paperwork.
Cinty, Chiquita and Khali (our female baby woolly and capuchin monkeys) have been really enjoying their new enclosure, so much so that we are now able to leave them in there overnight! The volunteers still rotate looking after them throughout the day, making sure that they spend plenty of time outside interacting with the other monkey and continually encouraging food and milk, but this is a small step towards independence, eventually leading to release.
Chaira, Xera and Nera (young female capuchin monkeys) are some of the animals who´s release has been delayed. We still hope for it to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks though.
Sira, the young female night monkey, is in care of the family. She is an early riser, spends some time drinking milk and jumping around between 6-7am, then sleeps for almost the whole day. In the evening she is very active again and she now is taken at times outside where she loves to jump in some small trees. She is gaining weight, is a very jumpy and funny monkey.
Yanay is still very pregnant, her belly growing bigger every day. It´s getting closer and closer to the due date (april-ish we suspect) so our volunteers are getting excited to welcome another young one to the family.
Unfortunately a lot of our animal’s haven´t developed the necessary skills and behavior to survive and reproduce on their own, from being held in captivity for long periods of time prior to coming to Esperanza Verde. Yanay is definitely one of those, as she doesn´t have much interest in interacting with other monkeys, mainly just humans. Because of this, it is hard for us to predict whether she will naturally nurture and provide for her baby as a wild spider monkey would, or whether human intervention will be needed. Our level of involvement with raising the baby will solely depend on her ability and interest in caring for him/her.
Sango, the young male howler monkey, is going up and done with weight. We stay with him several times a day, stimulating him to eat leaves, vegetables and a few local fruit. He needs to go out. As Olivia could get a verbal allowance over telephone from the Ministry we decide to let him out. Unfortunately the weather was not helping. He did not want to move so we are now waiting for some sunny weather. He is bored in the cage and outside we hope he will be able to find a lot more leaves that he can eat. Howler monkeys are very difficult to keep healthy in captivity. They need a special diet, of mainly leaves, as they have special intestinal flora which can’t handle fruit well. They are very sensitive, and quickly stressed.
Kiko, our young male kinkajou, was able to be released this month. We placed an opening in the side of his cage which we open at 7pm every night (kinkajou´s are nocturnal therefore active at night). He seems to stay in the area. The first nights he returned to his cage, so we closed the little door during day time. After this he did not return to sleep in the cage, but showed up as soon as it was dark. He then eats in his cage, and spends the rest of the time outside. Kinkajou´s are very territorial creatures and can be aggressive, usually travelling in family packs so we hope that if there is a family nearby that they will be able to coexist in peace. So far it has been going very well.
Rabito, the adult male deer we received last month is doing great. He now roams freely in the fenced area surrounding the clinic, and you can usually find him sitting on one of the hills under a plant or eating leaves. The wounds that he self-inflicted from the stress of being transported have healed, and he is much calmer. He enjoys being patted and hand fed, and will often lick your hand.
Ringo, the baby male deer is still living at the family home. Douwe and Geiler have just completed building a fence surrounding the family home, so Ringo has his own outdoor space now. The cats Simba and Lola will be happy that he´s not in the house anymore to steal their food anymore! The family that owned both deer before bringing them to Esperanza Verde came to visit last week from Curimana. They were happy to see that both were enjoying themselves and are well looked after.
As with the capuchins, we are still waiting on the release of the Coati´s. Two of the adults got into a bit of a fight recently over food, and the blind girl, Kimsa, got a cut on her blind eye. Luckily it was only superficial and didn´t need any further treatment.
Churi, the many-banded arasari, has been moved from a small cage in the office to a large outdoor enclosure (the new Pepe-cage) which we have recently finished constructing. He seems much happier, and chirps every time you walk past and call his name, and will come and sit on your shoulder or your hand when you go into the cage. He also likes to be hand fed, so the volunteers always show him a little extra attention. We tried to move two of our white-winged parakeets (Picor and Ocor) into the cage with him, but unfortunately Churi was a little territorial and tried to attack them. They are back in their own cage now.
As mentioned last month we emptied the Rokko parakeet’s cage, separating the parakeets and aratingas by whether they can fly or not. All flying birds were put into the Luca cage for release and from starting with around 60 we are now down to only 11! Hopefully in the next week or so the cage will be completely empty, and all will be fine outside.
The clinic is finally almost finished! There is some shelving and cabinetry being built and varnished, with a couple of other final touches before all of the equipment and supplies can be moved in and ready for use. We will be moving all of the office equipment into the new office in the clinic, and will be able to turn our current office building into a private bedroom for long term volunteers to have their own space.
We spent the last couple of weeks working on a large enclosure, the new Pepe-cage. We have also been putting together the fence around the family house, which we completed this week.
New plans have already been made and put into labour. Thanks to all the donations given to the Dutch foundation Esperanza Verde, we can start the construction of a new enclosure for our two male spidermonkeys, Lucio and Rimaq. A special thanks here to the Dutch tv-programm ‘Floortje naar het einde van de wereld’, which aired in November 2015 in Holland, and the many viewers for donating.
As Esperanza Verde is growing, more space is needed for all the people who are helping on a daily basis. So as smaller projects, we will turn the old-office into a bedroom-bathroom for long-term volunteers, and we will build a storage unit outside the volunteer kitchen to store food and hardware supplies, making the kitchen more spacious.
For a long time we have had a steady group of volunteers, so many could work for a longer time in construction, helping to finalize several projects.
Dan, from the USA, who was with us as well in 2011, came back thanks to his fiancée Kelly. She gave this trip as a birthday gift! Dan has let his hands do some magic again, helping with constructions and especially carpentry. We now have some beautiful shelves and cupboards for the clinic. Kelly will take over from Shani as headvolunteer and help Dominik, who came back after a short holiday. Mara, also a long-term volunteer (staying for 5 months) is now responsible for enrichment, so everyday someone is working to keep the animals which are in enclosures from boredom.
As always, a big thank you to all of our supporters and volunteers, we look forward to sharing our progress with you again next month!