Potos flavus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Potos flavus
Species Authority: (Schreber, 1774)
Common Name(s):
English Kinkajou
Spanish Mico De Noche, Cusu, Martilla, Chosna, Mico León, Mono Michi, Perro De Monte

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Kays, R., Reid, F., Schipper, J. & Helgen, K.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Belant, J. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Least Concern since it has a wide distribution range, is adaptable to a degree of human land-use change and there is no evidence that it is declining at a rate sufficient to warrant listing at this time.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The kinkajou is found throughout the neotropics, from Mexico to Bolivia. Its range extends from Mexico to the east and south of the Sierra Madres, along the central and southern Mexican coasts, southward through Beni, Bolivia (east of the Andes), and deep into Brazil (into the Mato Grosso).
Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population density for kinkajous has been estimated at 12.5 individuals/km2 in Veracruz, Mexico (Estrada and Coates-Estrada, 1985), and 20 to 30/km2 in French Guiana (Charles-Dominique et al., 1981).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The kinkajou (Potos flavus) is a medium-sized procyonid common throughout most neotropical forests (Ford and Hoffmann, 1988). It has nocturnal and arboreal habits and requires closed-canopy forest such as that found in Central America and the Amazon basin. Kinkajous are found in rain forests in Surinam, Mexico, and Peru (Estrada and Coates-Estrada, 1985; Husson, 1978; Janson et al., 1981), tropical evergreen forests in Mexico and Venezuela (Handley, 1976; Leopold, 1959), tropical dry forest in Guatemala (Walker and Cant, 1977), forests of the savanna region in Surinam (Husson, 1978), secondary forest in French Guiana (Charles-Dominique et al. 1981), and the Amazonian rain forest, Atlantic coastal forest, and evergreen gallery forests of the Cerrado in Brazil (Redford and Fonseca, 1986). Further to the south and east of its range the habitat becomes much drier and more open. Kinkajous are not found in these regions.

The species is found at altitudes from sea level to as high as 2500 m (Grzimek, 1975). Many studies (Bisbal, 1986; Charles-Dominique et al. 1981; Julien-Laferrière, 1999; Kays, 1999) on kinkajou's diet reveal that kinkajous eat primarily fruit, and supplement their diet with flowers and leaves. Charles-Dominique and colleagues (1981) state that kinkajous play an important role in dispersing the seeds of some plant species. Their social behavior has been little studied. Kinkajou social organization has been defined as 'solitary group-life' (Kays and Gittleman, 2001). Although kinkajous spent most of their active time alone, individuals regularly associated in groups of up to five individuals (Kays and Gittleman, 2001) while feeding fruit trees. Camera-trap avoidance behaviour has been documented for kinkajou in Costa Rica (Schipper, 2007).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As this is a highly arboreal species, even though we have no evidence that it is becoming threatened, it must be presumed that its numbers decrease with extensive human disturbance. Threats include extensive human disturbance, deforestation, pet trade and hunting for its meat and pelt (Glatston, 1994; Husson, 1978).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Kinkajous are found in numerous protected areas throughout their range and it is protected under CITES Appendix III in Honduras.

Bibliography [top]

Bisbal, F. J. 1986. Food habits of some neotropical carnivores in Venezuela (Mammalia, Carnivora). Mammalia 50(3): 329.

Charles-Dominique, P., Atramentowicz, M., Charles-Dominique, M., Gérard, H., Hladik, A., Hladik, C. M. and Prévost, M. F. 1981. Les mammiferes frugivores aboricoles noctunes d’une foret gutanaise: interrelations plantes-animaux. Revue d'Ecologie (La Terre et la Vie) 35: 341-435.

Estrada, A. and Coates-Estrada, R. 1985. A preliminary study of resource overlap between howling monkeys (Alouatta palliata) and other arboreal mammals in the tropical rain forest of Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. American Journal of Primatology 9: 27-37.

Ford, L. and Hoffman, R. 1988. Potos flavus. Mammalian Species 321: 1-9.

Glatston, A. R. 1994. The Red Panda, Olingos, Coatis, Raccoons, and their Relatives. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan for Procyonids and Ailurids. IUCN/SSC Mustelid, Viverrid and Procyonid Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

Grzimek, B. 1975. Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopaedia, Mammals, I-IV. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, USA.

Handley Jr., C. O. 1976. Mammals of the Smithsonian Venezuelan Project. Brigham Young University Science Bulletin, Biological Series 20: 1-91.

Husson, A.M. 1978. The Mammals of Suriname. Leiden, The Netherlands.

Janson, C. H., Terborgh, J. and Emmons, L. H. 1981. Nonflying mammals as pollinating agents in the Amazonian forest. Biotropica 13: 1-6.

Julien-Laferrière, D. 1993. Radio-tracking observations on ranging and foraging patterns by Kinkajous (Potos flavus) in French Guiana. Journal of Tropical Ecology 9: 19–32.

Julien-Laferrière, D. 1999. Foraging strategies and food partitioning in the Neotropical frugivorous mammals Caluromys philander and Potos flavus. Journal of Zoology (London) 247: 71–80.

Kays, R. and Gittleman, J. 1995. Home range size and social behavior of Kinkajou (Potos flavus) in the Republic of Panama. Biotropica 27: 530–534.

Kays, R. W. 1999. Food preferences of kinkajous (Potos flavus): A frugivorous carnivore. Journal of Mammalogy 80: 589-599.

Kays, R. W. and Gittleman, J. L. 2001. The social organization of the kinkajou Potos flavus (Procyonidae). Journal of Zoology (London) 253: 491-504.

Leopold, A. S. 1959. Wildlife of Mexico: the game birds and mammals. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Redford, K. H. and da Fonseca, G. A. B. 1986. The role of gallery forests in the zoogeography of the Cerrado's non-volant mammalian fauna. Biotropica 18: 126-135.

Schipper. J. 2007. Camera-trap avoidance by Kinkajous Potos flavus: rethinking the “non-invasive” paradigm. Small Carnivore Conservation 36: 38-41.

Walker, P. L. and Cant, J. G. H. 1977. A population survey of Kinkajous (Potos flavus) in a seasonally dry tropical forest. Journal of Mammalogy 58: 100-102.

Citation: Kays, R., Reid, F., Schipper, J. & Helgen, K. 2008. Potos flavus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 March 2015.
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