Thursday, 24 November 2011

Keeper Fern’s update on male Meerkat

We wanted to let you all know how our male Meerkat is settling in, after what felt to me like a long three weeks of excitement and nervousness, our male Meerkat has been introduced to the the two girls with great success.

DSC_0376To make sure the introduction went as smoothly as possible we had a safety enclosure added within the girls enclosure. This meant that the male and the two females were able to get used to one another through the safety of this enclosure. At first the girls were intent on getting in to see who this intruder was, and of course the male was a little nervous, but within the first few days the girls had got over the excitement and confusion of this male Meerkat in their territory and all seemed to calm down.

Over the next two weeks we saw them interacting with each other. The girls would sit closely to his enclosure and he would join in on sentry duty all the while pawing at each other through the cage. After a promising two weeks it was time to swap them over. The two females were put into the males safety enclosure and he was left to his own devices within the girls home. This was so he was able to get used to his new home without the stress of the females watching his every move. The first day he seemed a little overwhelmed by this new space, and the girls a little miffed, but as the days went on it was clear that he was quite content. Within that week their behaviour seemed much the same as before they were swapped over.

Finally, the time had come to introduce the Meerkats to one another. Head keeper Tara and myself, although a little nervous, removed the division between the two enclosures. After a little while the male decided to make the first move and made a quick dash into the females enclosure. Myself and Tara remained on standby in case of any signs of aggression, but to our relief the Meerkats got on like a house on fire! Observing the Meerkats now you would’ve never known they were from separate gangs.

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