After a long period of draught, the rain season finally started. The rain came perfectly on time, because we were running out of water again. We even could get to the Volunteer House by boat one day ; so many bags of sand could be taken by boat nearer to the clinic for making concrete. That saved us from a lot of manual labor, carrying!
Additionally we have now more art at Esperanza Verde! Tupak (toucan) got a portrait on the kitchen door, while Elmo (sloth) will be on the kitchen toilet door. We also will get a painting of Asan (macaw) on the Bodega entrance. That is all thanks to Enrico, from Italy, the volunteer artist.
While there were few volunteers around (it ranged from 3 to 6), we could minimize the contact between human and monkeys even more. This resulted in the monkeys being more by themselves and living higher in the trees. But of course, Willow (woolly monkey) is still annoying especially to every new volunteer. As for the others: Nakoya (woolly monkey) still gets her milk twice a day, Mica and Jordi (capuchin monkeys) hang out with the squirrel monkeys, but still in the Esperanza Verde area and Camilla (squirrel monkey) still bites volunteers sometimes. Nikita, the youngest capuchin female monkey, joined Jordi`s group.
Rimaq, Lucio and Yanay (spider monkeys) are doing fine. We are still waiting for the right moment (enough people to watch) to let Yanay out in the centre. The males would be too dangerous for people to have outside, as they are so tame and the risk of a bite with their huge canines is too big.
The bad news first: Creeper (baby bat) did not make it through October. He suffered from one injury well-hidden below his wings and another injury in his stomach. We realized that he got weaker, but could not do anything in the end. Creepers death came by surprise, in spite of all great efforts of many volunteers.
Kiko (kinkajou) and Mishki (agouti) adapted well to the life at Esperanza Verde. They are both healthy. Especially Kiko enjoys it when people are in his cage and tries to climb on them. As he is still young, he craves for attention and play time with humans. We try to avoid contact, but it is not always easy. Also because he is so adorable.
Rincay (tapir) and Quintisha (peccary) are both doing great; both of them get to enjoy many back scratches from the volunteers.
Elmo (sloth) shows up two or three times a week to eat some carrots and some of his beloved sweet potatoes.
Some of the bats, which we released last month, are still around. One lived in the kitchen for a short period of time and another two visit the volunteer house every now and then.
And last but not least, Yara (volunteer`s dog) sends her regards to all the ex-volunteers out there.
Pauki`s (Oropendola) training had a small holdup. He injured his wings and didn’t want to use them for a while. But after a rest of two weeks he is better than ever and his flying territory already covers Rincay’s cage and smaller parts of Xena cage (where Quintisha lives). Pauki still likes to be around people though. He picks on clothes, shoes and books to look for probable insects and he is not afraid of throwing stuff on the ground in his quest for discovery. He still likes to be handfed, although he can perfectly eat for himself. We suspect laziness. The volunteers watch over him around 4 hours a day, so he can fly around in this time. We wonder if Tupak (toucan) sees Pauki as a kind of little brother. He bullies the little bird a bit, but never injures him. Isn`t that, what we all do with our little brothers or sisters?
There are some interesting speculations around Tupak. Douwe said, there is a good chance for Tupak to be a female. Of course we will only be 100% certain when she would lay eggs. (Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Also: google baby Toucans, they are endlessly cute).
Tupak disappeared twice this month. Both times for about 2 days. We were worried and unsure whether she! found some friends, or he got captured. At the moment she is back in the Esperanza Verde area and likes to fly around from the family house up to the kitchen.
Supay (shiny cowbird) enjoys life in the aviary. Although he is the smallest in the cage, he teases all the other birds and sometimes the volunteers too. No wonder they named him `Devil’.
There were two deaths in one of the bird cages lately, among the last big group of parakeets brought by the Ministry. The first one was a white winged parakeet. The autopsy suggested an infection of the liver led to the bird’s death. And the second one was an white-eyed parakeet (aratinga). Even though one of the volunteers recognized, that it looked really ill and it was brought immediately for treatment to the office, it was already too late. Her name was Nina, and she only survived 2 days in the office.
Simultaneously another aratinga was transferred to the office. His name is Apu and he is now under observation and treated. This bird also seemed weak and under-nourished (his weight was less than half its normal), but he is getting better. Out of fear for a bacteries and-or parasites, we decided to separate all the aratingas in a different cage into quarantine and under medication. Just as a security procedure. As soon as the quarantine is over and all parakeets are healthy again, we can start to release more parakeets again.
There is a new tortoise in Sepa cage (the cage in between the aviary and reptiles). Her name is Nasca, and she was held as a pet in town. But because she has 13 plates on the back, the owner considered her as an omen for bad luck for breeding with her and gave her to us. She now stays in Sepa for 3 months (quarantaine) and then she will become the new female friend for Pepito (another tortoise of the same size). She is in good shape and eats a lot.
Pepito decided that if Rincay steals his food, he is going to steal Rincays food. They seem to have a good synergy and it`s interesting to see Rincay, Pepito and Willow eating from the same bowl.
The other tortoises and also the turtles are doing well, too.
The bodega has been rebuilt again. It took Douwe and the muchachos (Machico, Geiler and volunteers) around 3 weeks to finish and extend it. There is now lot of space for bananas and papaya. The volunteers are glad, that they don’t have to use the front cage of the aviary and Igor front cage anymore as a substitute bodegas.
With the bodega done, we could focus on the clinic again. Douwe hired two extra workers to regain some of the lost time. One of them is a specialist in brick laying and plastering. He builds and finishes the walls of the clinics in the next few weeks. Also, there are enough volunteers to help out on the construction side again. The goal is, to finish the clinic before the New Year, so let’s hope there won’t be another delay.
The group grew to 9 persons, but we are expecting another Volunteer to arrive soon, and till end of February we will be always in between 10 or 12. It is getting crowded in the kitchen, especially during lunch during the week. But as you probably know, more people mean more progress in work and also more fun in the evenings.
There are now two new Dutch interns (animal management) which will try to run a bit of management around here. Together with Dominik, from Switzerland, who will stay 9 months, and two German girls, Anouck and Tabeal (also staying for 3 months) we will have a great long-term team to get a lot of stuff done.