Save the Ringtails intends to initially focus its efforts on the pygmy raccoon, the Cozumel Island coati, and the olinguito. In the future, we will explore ways to support the conservation of other species, such as the mountain coatis and other island raccoons.
The Pygmy Raccoon
The pygmy or Cozumel raccoon (Procyon pygmaeus) is a diminutive cousin of the common raccoon that lives on Mexico’s Cozumel Island. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is a highly regarded scientific organization that assesses the status of species throughout the world. It reviews their analyses on their Red List. Based on their assessment, the pygmy raccoon is considered to be critically endangered: fewer than 250 mature individuals remain on our planet. These raccoons are endangered primarily from the loss of habitat due to development on their relatively small island. Cozumel Island, off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, is about 478 square kilometers or 185 square miles.
The Cozumel Island Coati
Another member of the family that lives on this island is the Cozumel Island coati (Nasua narica nelsoni). Although this mammal has been regarded as a unique species, most authorities assert that is actually a subspecies of the white-nosed coati(Nasua narica). This subspecies is not separately categorized by the IUCN. Nevertheless, this unique form of the white-nosed coati is also highly threatened and close to extinction.
The most publicized member of the family could be the recently discovered olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), an inhabitant of the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia. In 2013, after extensive laboratory analyses and field reconnaissance, a research team from the Smithsonian Institution and other museums announced the revised classification of this procyonid, formerly regarded as an olingo, as the olinguito. It was the first time in 35 years that a new carnivorous mammal had been found in the Americas. Although there may be thousands of olinguitos, over 40% of their range in the cloud forests has been lost to agriculture and other factors. If current rates of habitat loss persist, this newly discovered mammal could also become endangered.