Fundación ProAves – por la conservación en el país de las aves

Rediscovery of the Colombian Bamboo Toro (Olallamys albicadus) in Quindío, Colombia

23 May, 2023


The rediscovery in Colombia of the Colombian Bamboo Toro (Olallamys albicaudus) with incredible photos and videos has just been made by the Fundación ProAves ranger Sergio Cruz in the Loro CoroniAzul ProAves Reserve, Department of Quindío.

The Colombian Bamboo Toro, also known as the or White-tailed Olalla rat, was described in 1879 and after almost 150 years is still only known from just 17 records in the Colombia Andes and one record from Ecuador. It is almost unknown in life so when the Fundación ProAves ranger – Sergio Cruz – discovered this extremely rare and endangered mammal he was shocked that it befriended him!

First published video of Colombian Bamboo Toro thanks to ProAves Ranger – Sergio Cruz

I was undertaking surveys in the reserve, when around 2 pm at 3,430 meters elevation I saw this mammal down the trail feeding on bamboo and grass.” said Sergio Cruz, “Little by little I got closer and closer. It showed absolutely no concern for me and despite its large size and being a wild animal, it let me take photos until it actually came to me and climbed on me!  You can not imagine my surprise and joy!

The Colombian Bamboo Toro is a distinctive large rodent with soft, long hair and an exceptionally long tail with a bold whitish tip. The body is bright reddish-brown, while the belly is whitish.  The species is virtually unknown in life and is considered near Endemic to Colombia with most records from around Bogota and just a few from the Central Cordillera with one record on the border with Colombia in Ecuador.

This exciting discovery is made within the Loro CoroniAzul ProAves Reserve located in the Municipality of Génova, Quindío. The reserve and adjacent areas are considered an Alliance for Zero Extinction site because of its global importance for endangered species and habitats.

 This species is so rare that experts are unsure just how endangered the species is, but its fondness for bamboo thickets inside high Andean cloud forest – a unique habitat at great risk from clearance for farming and from climate change – means the species is certainly at grave risk of extinction.

Fundación ProAves is now planning to study this wonderful species in the hope of assessing the population and understanding how we can best save it from extinction.