Keepers at Taronga Zoo Sydney are excited by the arrival of two Meerkat pups, born on January 20.
This is the sixth litter of pups for mother, Narobi, who has been keeping a close eye on her offspring as they emerge from the den and explore their surroundings. The pair was fathered by Maputo.
The sex of the duo is yet-to-be-determined, so they are currently without names. However, when the time is right, their names will likely be taken from the Swahili language to reflect their African heritage.
As with all Meerkat young, the pups are developing very quickly. Carnivore Keeper, Maz Boz, said, “The infants are starting to eat bits of fruits, veggies and fly pupae. They learn to eat solids by mimicking their parents and siblings, which is a natural behaviour in the wild.”
“The pups are now standing on their hind legs, which will play an important role during sentry duty watches when they become adults,” Maz added. “The pups are now starting to emerge outside after a few weeks being in their dens, visitors can see the pups for short periods each day as they start to grow in confidence and explore their home.”
“Mum, Nairobi, is a very experienced mother having her sixth litter, two daughters, Serati and Xolani, also learning from her and being very tentative and assisting their mother in babysitting the pups whilst mum has a break,” said Maz.
Both Narobi and father, Maputo, play an important role in rearing the pups. The other members of the troop will also assist with caring for and protecting the pups as they grow and develop.
According to the Keepers at Taronga Zoo, they are quite hands-off with the Meerkats. They choose to allow the “politics” to be sorted out by the animals within their own hierarchy.
“They may be young, but they’re already showing signs of their own little personalities. They are both quite outgoing, adventurous and inquisitive jumping on the other Meerkats to play,” Maz concluded.
The Meerkat pups can be seen on exhibit with the rest of their troop, which is now comprised of eighteen in total. According to Maz, the best time to catch a glimpse of the pups is during the daily Keeper Talk and feeding at 11:30am daily.