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  • Writer's pictureLeonardo Merçon

The charismatic Ring-tailed Coati

In my wanderings as a photographer, I have always sought out locations with the greatest diversity of species. And in the heart of the Brazilian tropical forest, lives one of the animals that I consider one of the most charismatic in the country's fauna: the Ring-tailed Coati. With a distinctive coat and a spectacular striped tail, this animal is a true master of the jungle, scouring the woods in groups, often consisting of dozens of individuals.

The coatis' diet is quite diversified and includes fruits, insects, and small vertebrates. Thanks to their omnivorous behavior and climbing abilities, the Ring-tailed Coati can adapt to a wide variety of forest environments, from riparian forests to mountain forests. I have encountered them from the restinga in Espírito Santo to the Amazon rainforest.

But the Ring-tailed Coati is not just a fascinating animal for its ecological abilities. Their social life is equally complex and intriguing. Coatis live in large hierarchical groups, and each animal has its role in maintaining the order and security of the group.

Unfortunately, human activities have had severe impacts on their populations and habitat. Deforestation, agricultural expansion, and illegal hunting are some of the threats that endanger the survival of this and other Brazilian fauna species.

Preserving the natural habitat of these animals is key to maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity on the planet.

As they often live close to urban areas, let us appreciate the beauty and importance of the Ring-tailed Coati and work together to protect and conserve this and other species that make our world fascinating!

*The image title was suggested by a colleague through my Instagram. If you haven't checked out my Instagram yet, click HERE.


Leonardo Merçon is from Espírito Santo and has been a nature photographer/documentaris for almost 20 years, focusing on nature conservation. He graduated in graphic design from the Federal University of Espírito Santo and studied photography for publications at the Academy of Media and Arts in Germany, with a full scholarship from DAAD. He is currently pursuing a professional master's degree in Biodiversity Conservation at IPÊ/ESCAS. He is the founder/volunteer director of the Last Refuges Institute (a nonprofit environmental organization). He has dozens of printed books and video documentaries published. He works to tell stories through images in national and international media, such as the BBC in London and National Geographic Brazil, among others. In 2015, he was a speaker at TEDx TALK in Vitória-ES. He believes and works in environmental awareness activities (especially with children) and the promotion of nature-related tourism, as a way to inspire people and promote change.


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