As always, we have been keeping busy!! We have a few more additions to the family again this month including a baby night monkey, a tamarin monkey and a young howler monkey. We also received a young aracari, as well as two tortoises, five six-tubercled river turtles, plus one adult and one baby deer! With a larger group of volunteers we have been able to get a lot of construction work done this month as well, which is great because with all the new arrivals comes the need for new cages. Of course there is always still plenty to do.
Our volunteers have been keeping themselves busy every day creating enrichment activities for all of our captive animals. It is important to keep them active physically and mentally, so several times a week we give them an item designed to stimulate them, usually using food as encouragement. This can include food wrapped in leaf packages hung up or buried around the cage, a box or bottle with food inside that they have to work out how to open, as well as swings and balancing beams. The animals are responding really well to a lot of these, and so are the volunteers who get to watch them.
Later this month, we will have a couple of members of the ministry staying with us for two days, to arrange the release of a few of our animals. The three young capuchins, the coati´s and Kiko the kinkajou are all under consideration for release.
Cinty (baby female capuchin) and Chiquita (baby female woolly monkey) are both making good progress. We were a little concerned about Cinty as she wasn’t gaining weight for a while and she is quite small for her age; however the last couple of weeks her weight has been slowly but steadily increasing.
Khali (baby male capuchin) has been treated for his parasites, and can now be in contact with Chiquita and Cinty. He is still living at the family house at night, but the volunteers get the three of them together every morning for a full day of play! Khali is still quite young and still developing motor skills and strength, but he is starting to climb up small trees and jump (not always too successfully) between branches. All three of them have also started to develop a good relationship with the outside adult monkeys, so quite often when the volunteers are caring for the babies the other monkeys will follow, particularly Willow (woolly male) and Mica (capuchin female).
We are preparing now the Rokko-cage for them as an outside cage. As mentioned before they currently don’t have a cage, so this large one will provide plenty of activity space for them, as well as allow us to put a couple of the semi-captive adult monkeys in with them to encourage stronger bonds. We hope Khali will be able to join Chiquita and Cinty there as well during night-time.
About a week ago we had three more baby monkeys brought to us by the ministry. A tamarin roughly 3-4 weeks old, a female night monkey (named Sira) of about 2-3 months old and a male howler monkey (named Sango) around 6 months. Unfortunately the tamarin didn’t make it through the first night. Being such a young animal he needed a lot of extra care, particularly with feeding and drinking , which it looked like he might not have received. There was no way to tell when he was captured; he was confiscated on a market. He received emergency fluids, but it was too late for him. He was already too weak.
After that, and having already lost a howler monkey (Kosho) recently everyone was a little nervous about the new howler that we received. Fortunately he has been eating plenty of vegetables, leaves and limited fruit, as well as receiving cereal and fluid several times a day… a great improvement from the behavior of Kosho. He is also very active and independent so we have given him his own cage next to the volunteer house. He is gaining weight! Willow (adult male woolly) quite often sits on the roof or hangs off of the side of the cage talking to him and keeping him company which he seems to like.
The baby night monkey Sira is staying at the family house as she needs to be fed by syringe throughout the day and the night, but she is doing really well and has already grown a fair bit. She loves to sit on top of your head and watch everything.
The young female white-fronted capuchins that we received last month (Chaira, Xira) and Nera (female brown capuchin) are very active and playful in their cage, although Chaira often bares her teeth at passersby. To the untrained this appears to be cute and a playful interaction, however it is a sign of dominance and potentially can lead to aggressive behavior when threatened. As the dominant, both Xira and Nera are likely to defend her, so we need to be careful to not do anything that they may take as a threat. They are however, incredibly adorable and all of the volunteers love working with them. These three capuchins will be some of those looked at by the ministry, so in the next week or so they will hopefully be released to live in the area surrounding Esperanza Verde.
All the other monkeys are doing well! There is a lot of interest in the baby monkeys so they are usually in the same area, some of them more to try and steal their food and milk, but mostly to interact with the young. It´s great to see everyone getting along so well!
The coatis are doing really well, and are very friendly. One of the females, named Saya tries to climb up the legs of the volunteers, or jump on their shoulders when they come near their branches, so we have to always keep an eye out for her! They love to eat papaya, eggs and bread, which we put in leaf packages for them every day. If approved by the ministry, these guys will be released soon. We are about to start constructing an outside table for them so that if they decide to stay in the area they always have access to food.
Kiko, the kinkajou is another that may be released. He is steadily gaining weight and continuing to grow now, so we are considering opening a door in his cage so that he can come and go as he pleases.
Elmo hadn’t been seen for a couple of weeks, but he has made a number of visits lately, so we made sure to give him a big hug! He is still happy and healthy, slowly grazing away on leaves, fruits and vegetables. Willow was happy to see him too.
We also had the arrival of one adult deer named Rabito, and one baby deer that we haven’t chosen a name for yet. Both were being kept as pets in Curimana. The baby deer has been staying at Olivia and Douwe´s house, and Rabito has been at the clinic. The first inhabitant of the clinic!
Rabito was quite stressed from the move, and had injured his hooves from stomping, and his head and body from banging against the walls of the transport box. Olivia spend some hours to sit with him to calm him down, which seemed to work. Now he is getting more adjusted and he seems much calmer, letting you sit with him and pat him. We will now let him go outside into the enclosed area surrounding the clinic after the monkeys have gone to bed.
This week we emptied one of the bird cages, the Rokko cage, catching roughly 100 parakeets and 10 aratingas. They were separated, with 75+ non-flying put into the Igor cage, and roughly 30+ that can fly were put into the Luca cage. The Luca cage will now be a release cage, with a door to open in the morning and close in the afternoon. Igor was previously the release cage, which was greatly successful getting from around 60 parakeets earlier this month to only 9 earlier this week! The Rokko cage which is now empty will be cleaned and then used for the baby monkeys.
Pauki (Oropendola) came back to us after about 2 weeks, the longest that he has been away from home. He had some damage around his eyes when he first returned, but he has since received a parasite treatment and looks like he is in perfect health again! We have continued to see him every day since, back to his old ways. While he was away with a group of wild Oropendolas, he learnt to make a beautiful sound, somewhat like trickling water, which he had not previously done. Well done Pauki!
Last week we had the arrival of a young aracari who we have named Churi. Churi is absolutely beautiful, and very tame. His first day here we noticed that he was having some difficulty eating, so we now cut his food into quite small pieces and spend some time hand feeding him during the tours. He LOVES papaya, and if it were up to him he wouldn’t have anything else! Unfortunately he was brought from the north of Peru, so he cannot be released in this area, so we are still trying to work out what is his best option.
One of the volunteers saved one of the parakeets who had been captured by one of the outside capuchin monkeys (Mica). Luckily he wasn’t hurt, but is now kept in a small cage next to the aviary for observation, so thanks to our volunteers again for their prompt action.
And our last arrivals were two tortoises and five six-tubercled river turtles. The tortoises are currently being kept in the Sepa cage. One has a hole in his shell which was most likely drilled in so that he could be tied up and kept as a pet. It is unfortunate that there is a common misconception about the nerves of tortoises, and it is assumed that damage to the shell does not hurt or affect them. This is not true! A tortoise would die if his shell cracked, and they can feel pain when it is damaged. The five small turtles are in a small enclosure with a large pond, which they swim in all day.
Nasca is still doing well in the reptile cage, although it is a large cage and tortoises are surprisingly good at hiding! We have found her recently though, and it seems being away from Pepito is good for her.
The clinic is continuing to do well, still on schedule to be operational by April! We have a large group of volunteers at the moment, a few of them in particular who are very handy and interested in construction work, so it has been great to have their help to get a couple of projects going simultaneously.
We are currently building a new cage, suitable for parakeets or small mammals. Hopefully this cage will be done by the end of the week. We will start fencing the garden at the volunteer house, so there will be room for the baby deer, and maybe even the adult deer to roam around. And after this we will start with the preparations for the construction of a new enclosure for the spider monkey males.
As side projects Douwe and one of our volunteers Andrzej have removed some old cabinets and built in new shelving in the volunteer kitchen. This has created a lot more space in the living area, as well as more storage space for the food. Looks great guys, thankyou!
There are currently 12 volunteers so it’s just about a full house again! Thanks to a the Dutch programm Floortje Esperanza Verde has received a lot of attention and at times are completely booked. Hopefully soon we will be able to create more living space, so that we can take on more volunteers. Several of the volunteers this month arrived at the same time so there has been a lot of training happening, but everyone has a great attitude and is picking everything up really quickly, so we will be able to get a lot done over the next few weeks!
From the group of Swiss vets that recently spent two weeks with us, one stayed on for an extra two weeks as a volunteer. Rahel has been a great volunteer, not only participating in the tours and the care of the baby monkeys but she has continued to do parasite treatments for the animals, as well as checking blood and feces samples, so thank you!
The volunteers also offered to babysit the kids Kayla and Marlon for a day and a night as well as the nightmonkey, to give Olivia and Douwe a well deserved night to themselves.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for their help, and a big thank you to all of our supporters.