08 July 2016
Three new meerkats are making themselves at home in Brooklands Zoo.
The three females come from Wellington Zoo and have been held in quarantine for a month before moving into their public enclosure today (Friday).
Brooklands Zoo Coordinator Eve Cozzi says meerkats have been extremely popular with visitors since the species first arrived at the zoo in 2010.
“The most common reaction is surprise at how small they are – people have a different impression about their size from seeing them on TV and they ask if our animals are baby ones, but no, they’re adults,” says Ms Cozzi.
The three females have replaced the zoo’s last two males, who have been euthanised due to age-related illnesses.
The new meerkats are named Nala (‘beloved or successful’), Lindiwe (‘watchful or guard’) and Zola (‘to love or tranquil’). As they are young – around three years old – Ms Cozzi expects them to be very active in their enclosure.
The zoo plans to acquire more female meerkats as they become available with the aim of increasing the group to eight. In the wild, meerkat mobs can be anywhere between three and 50 individuals.
A new den has been built next to the enclosure to free up space for the meerkats. The den will be kept warm with a heat pump – a more efficient system than the heat lamps that were used previously