A team of ecologists from Colombia and the United Kingdom announced that they are the first to successfully keep a living specimen of the rare mountain coati alive in captivity.
The small carnivore was found by local police and surrendered to the ecological park La Reserva just outside of Bogota, where ecologists kept the animal in quarantine.
“Of all the carnivores in the world, the mountain coati (Nasuella olivacea) is perhaps the least studied, and there is very little information about it because of its shy behavior,” the researchers said in a press release.
Until now, ecologists had only been able to collect bones, skin, fecal, and tissue samples from the animal, and were never able to successfully keep one in captivity.
The mountain coati feeds on beetles and their larvae, ants, crickets, centipedes and berries, and occasionally consumes a frog. The younger mountain coati is thought to live in small groups, while older males live alone and only join the groups during mating season.
Despite the small numbers of the creature, the mountain coati is not recognized as an endangered species by Colombian authorities.
The captures mountain coati will be available for viewing by the public at the BioParque La Reserva near Bogota once the animal has adapted to its new environment.