Zuzu has done it again: The head of the meerkat group at Schönbrunn Zoo had offspring for the third time on July 25th. This time it's just a cub. This is unusual because there are usually two to four young animals in a litter. For the little one, however, it is definitely an advantage. “The young animal is really round. It finally gets all of the milk. In addition, as an only child, it enjoys everyone's full attention. The older sister Chimara likes to look after the little one and is also a playmate, ”says zookeeper Nadine Bräuer. The young animal was born in a protective cave in the earth - only about 30 grams in weight, blind and completely helpless. It is now big enough to accompany the group of seven on their forays through the area.
Meerkats live in the savannas and semi-deserts in southern Africa. Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck researched African reptiles as part of his doctoral thesis in the Kalahari. He got to know meerkats as cheeky guys. “They kept sneaking into our tent to steal reptiles or our own food,” recalls Hering-Hagenbeck. Meerkats are small predators. The young animal, whose sex is not yet known, was suckled in the first few weeks. It is now eating insects. Meerkats are known for standing upright on their hind legs to keep an eye out for birds of prey and other dangers. Even the little one can do it like a big one with its four weeks.
Photos: Daniel Zupanc