Last April, Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland was damaged by a terrible fire that not only destroyed their tropical house and 48 different species of small mammals and reptiles, but also the indoor meerkat house, killing 11 members of their meerkat family.
At the beginning of November, keepers saw two meerkat kits emerge from the burrow – a true sign that the remaining meerkat pair had fully recovered from their trauma. November in Scotland was not an ideal time to have young, but they are such resilient creatures that the babies have thrived ever since.
Two weeks ago, two more kits emerged from the burrow, much to the delight of all the staff at the zoo!
Before the two additional kits made their appearance, a FaceBook appeal for name ideas generated hundreds of suggestions. The two most popular names were chosen: Alex, named for one of the first firemen on the scene at the zoo (who is also their postman by day), and Poppy, the flower of Remembrance Day, when the two pups emerged. The new additions have yet to be named.
A new home for the meerkat family is nearly complete. It is located beside the site for their tropical house and will also house two porcupines and a new giant African Spurred Tortoise called Chad, who is 31 years old. The meerkats should move into this new habitat within the next couple of weeks.
For more photos, see our story about the first two kits.