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White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Population estimates

  • No global population estimates (Cuarón et al. 2015)
  • Considered rare to common, depending on location (Gompper 1997; Valenzuela 1998; Valenzuela and Ceballos 2000; Cuarón et al. 2015)
    • More common in tropical areas, when resources more abundant
    • Rare in the United States (e.g., Kaufmann et al. 1976)
    • Populations declining in Mexico and some parts of Central America
  • Global population trend
    • Decreasing (Cuarón et al. 2015)

Population structure

  • Substantial genetic differences among populations (Nigenda-Morales et al. 2019)
    • Nigenda-Morales et al. (2019) report a minimum of 5 evolutionarily significant units
    • Distinct Panama population
      • Isolated earlier than other lineages, about 4 mya ago
  • Lowest gene flow in northern and western areas of range (Nigenda-Morales et al. 2019)

Conservation Status


  • Least Concern (2015 assessment) (Cuarón et al. 2015, and as noted)
    • Wide distribution
    • Present in many protected areas across range
    • Locally threatened by habitat loss and hunting (Glatston 1994)
  • Previous assessments (Cuarón et al. 2015)
    • 2008: Least Concern
    • 1996: Lower risk/least concern


  • Listed on Appendix III in Honduras (Cuarón et al. 2015; UNEP 2019)
    • No trade protections elsewhere

Government laws and regulations

  • Protected in New Mexico, U.S. (Glatston 1994; NMDGF 2019)
    • Hunting permitted in Arizona (Glatston 1994; AGFD 2019)
  • Dwarf coati (N. n. nelsoni; Mexican subspecies) listed as Endangered (Kays 2009b)
    • Small population at risk of local extinction
      • Range restricted to Cozumel Island

Threats to Survival

Habitat loss

  • Large-scale habitat loss (Cuarón et al. 2015)
  • Loss of forest cover (Urquiza-Haas et al. 2011)


  • Coati hunted throughout its range (Glatston 1994)
    • Taken for skin and meat, though other mammals typically preferred (Wright and Duber 2001; Cuarón et al. 2015)
      • Meat of adults considered tough and of “strong flavor” (Leopold 1959)
    • In Mexico, not frequently eaten for food (Avila-Najera et al. 2011)
  • In the U.S., killed incidentally (other species targeted) (Leopold 1959; Glatston 1994; Cuarón et al. 2015)
  • Taken for pet trade (Leopold 1959)


  • Dry-season mortality rates higher in years when little rainfall (Valenzuela 1998)
    • Less food and water available

Population fragmentation

  • U.S. population becoming isolated from populations farther south (Glatston 1994)
    • May lead to extirpation in the U.S.
  • Populations in Mexico small and fragmented (Espinoza-García et al. 2014)

Rare to Common

White-nosed coati

White-nosed coatis are most common in tropical regions, where forest resources are abundant.

Populations have declined in the U.S., Mexico, and some parts of Central America.

Image credit: © Bettina Arrigoni / Flickr. Some rights reserved; CC BY 2.0.

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