First Coati in the World to Receive Acupuncture

A geriatric coati living at Fife Zoo is believed to be the first of her species anywhere in the world to receive acupuncture as a treatment for arthritis.

Ebony the coatimundi arrived from Yorkshire Wildlife Park in 2019. She has lived at the zoo with her brother until he unfortunately died in April 2022. Ebony’s own mobility continued to decline and we were keen to act to maximise her quality of life, allowing her to complete natural behaviours which she would be expected to in the wild.

We worked closely with veterinary experts from the University of Edinburgh to ascertain the correct care plan to maximise her wellbeing. After receiving several rounds of acupuncture we saw a noticeable improvement and Ebony is coping well with the new procedure.

Up to twenty-one acupuncture needles can be inserted into Ebony’s back during each procedure. The acupuncture treatment involves inserting fine medical needles into sensory nerves under Ebony’s skin and in to her muscles. This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins to mitigate and reduce pain.

Ring-tailed Coatis are native to the forests areas of Argentina, Columbia and Venezuela, but
have been introduced into many areas outside of their natural range. The species is now
considered as an invasive species in the UK and there are complicated restrictions on keeping
them in captivity.

Mike said “We believe that Ebony is the first coati in the world to receive acupuncture as a form of treatment for arthritis. Last year, when she lost her mate, her condition gradually deteriorated, but she seems to be becoming more active and agile since receiving acupuncture as a form of treatment from our veterinary team.”

STV Report on ‘World First’ as Ebony the Coat Receives Acupuncture at Fife Zoo – YouTube