Meerkat infant health check
Four meerkat kits were given their first hands-on health check at Perth Zoo today since their birth late last year.
The youngsters which were born to experienced mother ‘Tilly’ were individually assessed, weighed, vaccinated and their sex determined by Perth Zoo Veterinarian Katja Geschke.
Senior Keeper, Becky Thomasson, said: “Since their birth in November 2014, we’ve taken a hands off approach but it’s important to give each of the new arrivals a veterinary examination.”
“It gives us a chance to get a close-up look at their body condition and also work out how many new little boys or girls we have!”
The Keepers have been monitoring the development of the meerkat babies closely and have been delighted to see them starting to eat solids.
“The adults have been sharing bits of their food and we’ve seen them attempting to catch crickets and insects. We expect them to be fully weaned within the next few weeks. ”
Tilly has successfully raised four litters and is a very casual mum, which has resulted in some inquisitive and confident offspring.
“They’ve also been delighting visitors by standing on their hind legs and trying to assist the adults with sentry duty, a behaviour that meerkats are famous for.”“The youngsters are starting to explore further afield from their mother and attentive uncles, and love to wander off and forage together.”
Perth Zoo is part of the regional breeding program for meerkats, ensuring a future for the species in case numbers were to collapse in the wild.
Meerkats are native to southern Africa and can be found in the Kalahari Dessert. They have adapted to living in very harsh conditions and climates, with little food, water and many predators. They have ears that can close in the event of a sandstorm and dark patches around their eyes to lessen the dessert glare like sunglasses.
Contact: Danielle Henry, Perth Zoo Media Manager
Ph: 08 9474 0383 M: 0438 950 643 E: firstname.lastname@example.org