Bioparque La Reserva will open the first public exhibition in the world of the rare mountain coati, known as the “Ghost Carnivore of the Andes,” for its elusiveness.
According to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, a partner in the exhibition, the only known mountain coati to ever be held in captivity will be on permanent display starting May 1 at the Bioparque La Reserve in the Cota municipality of Cundinamarca, just 20 minutes outside Colombia’s capital Bogota. Currently it can only be viewed from its quarantine via closed circuit television but the park plans to introduce the animal to a habitat mimicking its own in the wild.
The species, which is related to the raccoon, is not protected in Colombia or Ecuador due to a lack of data, and scientists hope to study the animal in an effort to preserve and protect it.
According to Durrell, the information from the study will be vital to ensure the conservation of the mountain coati in its natural Andean habitat, which has been jeopardized by increased agricultural activity. Almost 1,500 acres have been set aside for specialists to observe what might be the world’s least studied carnivore’s behavior and ecology.
What scientists do know so far is that the mountain coati lives in the Andean forests in Colombia and Ecuador at between 4,000 and 13,000 feet above sea level. They mainly feed on insects and fruits but may eat small animals such as frogs as well.