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North American Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Population estimates

  • Global population estimates
    • None available (Gary Roemer, personal communication, 2019)
      • For densities, see Reid et al. (2016)
  • Broad geographic distribution
  • Population trend
    • Unknown (Reid et al. 2016)


IUCN Status

CITES Status

  • Not listed (UNEP 2019)

U.S. Endangered Species Act

Threats to Survival

  • Hunting (Reid and Helgen 2008)
    • Valued for its tail; pelt reportedly of poor quality (Zeveloff 2002)
    • Number trapped has declined since 1979 due to decreased demand (Zeveloff 2002)
  • Automobile impacts (Glatston 1994)

Management Actions

Conservation and Hunting Status in U.S. by State
Conservation Status
Fully protected *
Not allowed
Not allowed
No special status
Not allowed
No special status
Not allowed
No special status
Not allowed
No special status
With furbearer permit
No special status
With furbearer permit
New Mexico
No special status
With furbearer permit
No special status
With furbearer permit
No special status
With furbearer permit
  • * Fully protected status designates species that are rare or face possible extinction. No tracking of ringtail population size is conducted by CNDDB.
  • ** Sensitive-vulnerable status assigned to species facing population or habitat threats but are not currently imperiled; meant to prevent populations declines which might lead to classification as threatened or endangered.

Hunting Now Banned in Some States

ringtail drawing

Ringtail trapped in San Bernardino Mountains, California, 1906 (sketch by W.J. Fenn).

Frank Stephens wrote of this occasion: "My only personal acquaintance with this species consists in trapping a pair on Eel River, Mendocino County. One of these we kept alive a few hours to observe its actions and make a drawing of it. This one permitted stroking and considerable handling, though it once nipped Mr. Fenn's thumb severely when he handled it too freely."

Image and text from: Stephens F. 1906. California Mammals. San Diego, CA.: West Coast Publishing, p. 242. Courtesy of Internet Archive Book Images. No known copyright restrictions.

Page Citations

Glatston (1994)
Reid and Helgen (2008)

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