South American species found climbing over Cork Airport fence

The coatimundi at Cork Airport
By Denise O’Donoghue

Cork Airport has detained an exotic visitor climbing a fence near the runway - a ring-tailed coatimundi.

The species is native to South America and closely related to racoons, but this animal was recently spotted in a garden in nearby Ballygarvan.

Cork Airport shared a photo of the animal climbing the perimeter fence beside the runway.

Airport police spotted the coatimundi this morning and duty manager Denis Collins has secured the services of Fota Wildlife Park, which will send a team presently to rescue it.

“No two days are ever the same at Cork Airport”, said Kevin Cullinane Head of Communications at Cork Airport.

My colleagues in the Airport Police and Fire Service manage our wildlife policy but it isn’t common to spot a ring-tailed South American coatimundi at the Airport.

The airport has offered to reunite the animal with its owner.

“Hopefully we can return it to its rightful owner presently with the support and professional advice of our friends at Fota Wildlife."

Ballygarvan householder John Hall spotted the creature in his garden last month.

An adult coatimundi can weigh up to 7.2kg and be more than 3.5ft long, half of that being its tail.

The animal is widespread in tropical and subtropical South America.

Another South American animal spotted in Cork in recent years is the coypus, a large rat-like creature seen in the River Lee near the Lee Fields.

The OPW has trapped a number of coypus in the past few months.

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