The olinguito is the smallest species in the Procyonidae* family, which are animals found solely in the New World, which also includes raccoons, coatis, olingos, and kinkajous. In 2013 they were described as a new species. They have dense woolly fur that is thicker and more colorful (reddish brown or orange) than the olingos, its closest relatives. This animal looks like a mix between a teddy bear and a cat, and for more 100 years has been mistakenly identified. This finding is important for science because the species has occurred again in the western hemisphere after 35 years.
Little is known about the social behavior in the olinguito, because it was only recently discovered and researchers are still learning about this tree-dwelling mammal. They are solitary, mostly nocturnal and live in trees. They are skillful jumpers and are able to jump from tree to tree up in the forest canopy.
No information is available at present regarding the mating system and reproductive behavior of olinguitos. It is only known that females raise just a single offspring at a time.
In the future the olinguito may be under threat as a result of urbanization and deforestation. It has been estimated that 42% of historic suitable olinguito habitat has already been converted to urban areas or agriculture and a further 21% remained in natural though largely unforested conditions. Since its natural habitat is at higher elevations, the olinguito’s "cloud forest habitat" clearly needs protection for the probability of survival for this species.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the olinguito total population size. According to the HISTORY resource, the olinguito population numbers in the tens of thousands. Currently this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) and its numbers today are decreasing.