The past few weeks have been aimed extensively toward constructing the new animal clinic, a process that has been moving at a rather quick pace.
More animal cages have been repaired or altered in order to better accommodate the animals living within.
With a surprising low amount of rain revealing vast sand beds, we hasten our work to dig as much of the substance we can to finish the clinic foundation.
Due to the lack of rain, travel is not a grievous issue any longer. Although sporadic power outages have been occurring in the nearby city of Bello Horizonte and Curimana, we anticipate no serious problems arising from this.
We recently oversaw the release of two of our monkeys, Kiru (Tamarin), and Leo (Squirrel monkey), at Esperanza Verde. The hope was, after extensive observations of the primate interaction through the cage they resided in, that both tiny monkeys would be easily assimilated into the wild groups that inhabit our area.
Our maternal capuchin monkey named Mica is a wonderful host mother to smaller monkeys who lack parents. She is well known to take care of her group, protect them, and she is the key piece in integrating a captive monkey into a free-roaming one. By leaning on Mica as a crutch, we allowed her and another woolly monkey named Willow to enter the small monkey cage and socialize with both of them without the separation of any walls. The process couldn’t have been better executed. Leo immediately took to riding on Mica’s back, just as many other squirrel monkeys have done in the past.
Kiru, however, took to clinging desperately to Willow’s back, much to Willow’s primary disdain. Willow tried at first to remove Kiru from him, but Kiru held tighter still. To our astonishment this only lasted for a short time before Willow grew to love Kiru, picking him up and replacing him onto his back if he had fallen to off. In a sense, Willow became his father and caretaker-exactly as we had hoped. Leo is thriving out of captivity.
Unfortunately after 2,5 days with Willow, Kiru has disappeared from our sights at one morning. The night before he was seen still clinging on to Willow. We are clueless in what happened.
Several of the woolly monkeys have been given medicine to combat certain parasites such as Giardia that we found during routine feces examinations. Nikita, another female capuchin monkey, has had her milk intake reduced to twice a day from three times daily as she grows more and more independent.
Quintisha, our peccary, received a nice surprise when we altered her cage to allow our workers to actually touch her. She yearns for volunteers to pet her (especially behind her ears) and the lower wall ensures that feeding her food with medicine will make it into her belly and not just the ground.
Our legions of parakeets are coming along wonderfully. They eat (a lot!) and we seem to have reached a point where finding a dead parakeet isn’t expected anymore. They are still held in quarantine until they are cleared for diseases.
Pichu, the white-eyed parakeet in the office, has healed well under careful medical supervision. His chest wound is treated daily with a topical ointment, he receives a daily dosage o oral antibiotics, but his injured leg is completely healed.
Tupac, the toucan, grows larger every day. New colorful plumage is sprouting on his chest, a sign that our baby is growing up fast! We hope that he continues to improve and grow so that release can happen very soon.
The tortoise living in the office, Pothos, remains in critical condition. His eye wounds, though healing slowly without any apparent sign of infection, has left him with one missing eye and one that is unable to open. He will not eat any food we try to give him. In the beginning his strength was much greater than his current state. He still maintains a will to live, and for that we will strive to help him as much as we can. As recovery goes slowly we keep up our hopes, we can help him recover, while trying to save his last eye.
Oh, what a time it has been for construction! The low levels of the river have given us the wonderful opportunity to dredge for sand for days at a time. The clinic will require an egregious amount to finish, a number we can only pray to achieve sometime in the next couple of weeks. On the bright sight, two entire tiles (out of six) of flooring have been laid and set with plumbing. Soon the walls on those patches will be complete as well so we can work on ironing out the smaller details once we have an inside to work in rather than only a roof and mud. Our septic tank for the clinic is also almost finished thanks to the strong hands of so many volunteers helping us dig. The end result will be somewhere around three meters. We have two and a half completed so far.
Regular maintenance such as re-lining paths and cages with rocks to stem the flow of mud never ends, but that’s part of the life we live here. As soon as the clinic is completed and our cages improved on, more and more animals will be able to be taken care of here with better equipment than what we use now.
So many volunteers these past few weeks, counting is hard! With all the extra hands we’ve managed to do so much to improve the project with more yet still to come. Obviously the clinic will be our crowning achievement, but who can really guess what more we can think of to help the animals after this building? As long as more volunteers continue to write us, looking for a place to spend some time giving back to nature and helping the many vulnerable species of animals residing here, our work will be abundant and an indescribable help to everything involved here in Esperanza Verde.