Dark Nights, Bright Days, Free animals

Merazonia is alive and kicking! The volunteers, donors and our Give us 5! community, are pulling us through the dark pandemic months. We even managed to release many animals, including a second group of red howlers, Toby the tayra and… breaking news:  Anku and Nuna, the two jaguarundis.

First: a bit of gloom

It is suspected that the strict lockdown in Ecuador increased hunting activities. Many people were left with no income or support at all and desperation drove more people into the forests to find food or log trees. Therefore, we fear to see an influx of animals in the near future.

The economy was hit hard and the government has cut down on conservation. Many people were fired from the department of environment, including a lot of the national park guards. It sets the tone for the time to come and it will up to NGO’s, private projects, and indigenous communities to stand up for nature.

Stronger together

broken cage merazoniaWe encountered our own drama last month when a massive tree fell down and seriously damaged the woolly monkey enclosure. All the monkeys are fine, and have been transferred to another enclosure. But their old home needs replacing as soon as possible. Resources and time are already scarce. But we try to give it a positive spin and are looking into options to create an even better place for them! If you would like to donate towards the woolly area renovation, please click here. Or you can join our Give us 5-community. This group of monthly Merazonia supporters is keeping Merazonia afloat and makes it possible for us to keep improving. Stronger together: it is that simple.

Moving on to the glory

After 9 months of lock down, we seem to finally be getting a breather. Most of the volunteers, dubbed the Lockdown Legends have left but some fresh volunteer blood is trickling in and is taking some weight off the shoulders of our overworked crew. New animals have arrived: two groups of tamarin monkeys, a young red howler money, various parrots and an adorable but seriously wounded coati called Chucho. More animals are already on the waiting list to be brought here. We also welcomed two new rescued dogs to the team: Aliyah and Taz!

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howler monkeys merazoniaDespite everything, we released a decent amount of animals (anteaters, porcupines, sloths) this summer. But the projects that stand out most are the soft release of our red howler monkeys, Toby the tayra, and very recently: the two jaguarundis (felines). Watch the small video compilation.

Howlers Ruby and Pepper have teamed up with Emuya and are now roaming freely throughout the reserve. They are often heard howling around 11 am; it is simply the most beautiful cry of freedom you can think of. We still give them some extra food and they all look in amazing shape. Ruby and especially Pepper improved their tree climbing skills to a near professional howler level. We are collaborating with a production company called Hive Media who will soon publish a compilation video of all our howler activities. We will keep you posted on that. If you have not seen the amazing video they made about Andy the anteater, click here

Toby tha tayra

toby the tayraA few months ago, Toby the juvenile tayra, a volunteer favourite, was brought to our deep jungle release site. From here, he sort of gently wandered off into the forest when he thought it was time. He was spotted once more a week later by Sarah. He was in good condition and shied away from her instantly, which is perfect behaviour, especially for an animal that was hand-reared by humans!

To top it off, brother and sister jaguarundi, Nuna and Anku, were released a few weeks ago. A lot of work, money, and preparation went into this rehabilitation. So thank you sponsors! We are also grateful to our partners in this conservation project, Tarqui zoo - for the neonate care they gave the cats before Merazonia - and Ecominga for allowing us to use one of their pristine reserves as a release site. The night before release our vet Louisa gave both cats one last big medical check and boy had they grown!

Deep jungle release

The next day, a team of Merazonians with a representant of the ministry, set off before daylight to walk the cats deep into the Ecominga reserve, crossing rivers and primary rainforest for hours, before opening the carry-on cages and set the cats free. Cautiously they both placed their first steps into the jungle where they were found as orphaned cubs exactly a year ago. At this point, we have no further info on them yet but we will inform you later on! 

Thank you all for keeping interest in the work we do and the animals we care for. Be safe!

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