This would be the first ever documented record of the White-eared Opossum (Didelphis albiventris) for the Beni Department, where the savanna eco-region sustains a diverse, yet barely investigated community of mammal species.
The record of the White-eared Opossum using the artificial nest boxe for the Blue-throated Macaw in the Barba Azul Nature Reserve is the first-ever documented observation for the Beni Department and will soon be published as a short note in a scientific journal.
The individual was using one of the nest boxes located in a small Motacú dominated forest islands as sleeping location in the northern area of the reserve. The possible impact of the White-eared Opossum on the nest-box program and the local avifauna has to be determined.
“Though the presence of White-Eared Opossum at forest islands where nest-boxes are located may halt the usage by Blue-throated Macaws and other bird species, the real impact of mammal predators will have to be determined by rigorous studies.”
– said Tjalle Boorsma, coordinator of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve.
The highly adaptable, omnivorous opossum species are real champions of evolution, as they have been present on Earth since the Miocene.
Very little is known about mid-sized and small mammal species presence and abundance in the savannas del Beni, making this area one of the few frontiers where mammalogists might find further biogeographic surprises.