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First ever Mountain coati in captivity in Colombia

26/09/2010 13:10:18

ELUSIVE: The mountain coati

Much to be learnt about elusive mountain coati

September 2010: Through joint efforts of Colombian and British conservationists to protect and ensure the survival of the only Mountain coati (Nasuella olivacea), ever kept in captivity, the general public will begin to understand about this enigmatic mammal and its conservation.

Through joint efforts of Colombian and British conservationists to protect and ensure the survival of the only Mountain coati (Nasuella olivacea), ever kept in captivity, the general public will begin to understand about this enigmatic mammal and its conservation.

Confiscated from poachers
The mountain coati was confiscated from poachers by police and local environmental authorities and is being kept in a strict quarantine and welfare procedures by researchers at Bioparque la Reserva in Cota, Colombia, with the support of experts from Mammal Department at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK).

The Bioparque's visitors will be able to learn about it through cameras installed in its enclosure until quarantine is completed. In a complementary project, the species' natural habitat will be protected: a private protected area of 600 hectares in Sisga has been set aside for páramo conservation in order to study its ecology and behaviour.

The mountain coati is perhaps the least studied carnivore in the world and due to its elusive behaviour, information about it is very limited. It is arguably, a ghost species. Published data has been obtained from skins, tissue samples and skulls belonging to collections in natural history museums, faecal samples, tracks and a single individual which was captured and then released immediately.

The same family as raccoons
There are few reliable documents of this species which belongs to the same family of raccoons and kinkajous. It is presume to live in páramos and High Andean forest of Colombia and Ecuador between 1,300 to 4,000 metres above sea level. In Colombia, the species are thought to be found thoroughly The Andes and only travels short distances in search of food.

The mountain coati mostly feeds on beetles and their larvae, ants, crickets, millipedes and fruits but they are also opportunistic feeders of small animals such as frogs and also will eat carrion. They are thought to be gregarious, forming social groups that could consist of 6 to 8 adult females and juveniles from both sexes. Adult males are solitary and are tolerated only during the mating season.

‘Data deficient' so coati has no conservation status
With regard to conservation status, this species is classified as "Data Deficient" and it is not protected in Colombia or Ecuador. Its natural habitat has been traditionally destroyed and fragmented by agriculture. They are also hunted as local people believe they are harmful to potato crops and poultry and people use them as a source of food and skin.

Through DNA analysis of blood samples of this specimen, Bioparque La Reserva hopes to add relevant information to the limited data on the Mountain coati. The individual which was confiscated by the National Police of Colombia and Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca -CAR Zipaquirá will be shown to the press only by invitation to a press conference and only after it has adapted to its new environment in the Bioparque. The general public may observe it for now, from cameras to be installed in its quarantine enclosure at Bioparque La Reserva or on web-cam footage at

The first permanent exhibition of this species will be on the second stage of development of the Bioparque La Reserva. It will share a large area with other species from its natural environment such as the spectacled bear, Andean fox and white-tailed deer. This exhibition of mixed species will be the most modern of its kind, and visitors can immerse themselves in the natural environment of the Colombian Andes while they walk.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

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Posted by: David | 01 Mar 2016 14:12:42

claification of coati types

If I am not mistaken their are 3 species of coati
1-nasua nasua south of the panama canal. I have raised these from Paraguay and they come in blond , brunette and black types all in the same litter
2-nasua narican from north of the Panama canal and into the U.
S.A. these have a light coloration on their chests
3-nasuella sp. this is the specimen seen in the photo they are generally smaller and this may be the first verified find in over a century

Posted by: William C Mankel MD | 07 Sep 2012 16:20:21

Mountain Coati

To: Robert Wheeler
The 4 in Broussard, 2 in Columbus, and 2 in Moorpark are all South American Coatis (Nasua nasua) and mis-identified as their much rarer cousin, the Mountain Coati (Nasuella olivacea). South American Coatis are light in color and Mountain Coatis are dark in color. It's easy to tell the difference.

Posted by: Drew | 04 Jun 2012 00:52:15

Mountain Coati

I was interested in today's article regarding the first ever Mountain coati in captivity .
The current ISIS records show there to be 4 at Broussard (Louisiana) , 2 at Columbus (Ohio) and 2 at Moorpark College (California) .
Broussard confirm this on their website as one of their two coati species .
Those at Columbus appear to be a fairly recent addition to the ISIS list .
Having visited Moorpark in July 2009 (mainly to see a Mountain coati as one of their two coati species) the pair clearly displayed as Mountain coati appeared to be Ring-tailed coati and this is America's Teaching Zoo !!!
I therefore remain totally confused .

Posted by: Robert Wheeler | 01 Oct 2010 19:46:25

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