Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Oakland Zoo’s meerkat mob has expanded by two. Now on exhibit in African Village, guests have the opportunity to see the siblings. The pair, born in early September, has recently been spotted outside of their night house and exhibit tunnels.
Zookeepers are thrilled with the new additions as this is the third litter of pups within the last year. The successful births are a sign the mob’s matriarchal dynamics are becoming more established and the Queen mother meerkat is establishing her role as dominant female. In general, meerkat pups are fragile and infanticide is not uncommon in a mob. However, close observations of this group’s behavior indicates no immediate signs of mutiny occurring on the mounds of the habitat anytime soon.
“The Zoo’s meerkat social dynamics over the past few years have been anything but certain and we were beginning to wonder if they were ever going to dial it in. Although we still have periods of unrest, they seem to come together when there are babies to care for,” said Victor Alm Zoological Manager.
There are now a total of twelve meerkats in Oakland Zoo’s mob, two of which include the new pups. The adult group consists of five females, three males, and two male juveniles which were born earlier this year. Adults can weigh up to two pounds. Mealworms are among the meerkats’ favorite treats. Since the keepers have been very hands off with the meerkat pups and will continue to be hands off for the first few months, the sexes of the newest additions and the previous litter are unknown. All twelve meerkats are on exhibit at Oakland Zoo and may be viewed during normal business hours, 10:00am – 4:00pm.
***Media Advisory*** On Thursday, October 10, from 2:00pm – 3:00pm, Oakland Zoo will be offering media a closer look at the Zoo’s baby meerkats (pups). A zookeeper will be available for interviews during this time. If you plan on attending, please contact Nicky Mora, Senior Manager, Marketing/PR at (510) 632-9525, ext 130 or e-mail nmora(at)oaklandzoo(dot)org. Media should meet at the Zoo’s Main Entrance at 2:00pm.***
About Meerkats: Slender-tailed meerkats have a slender build with long thin legs, four toes with long claws, a thin pointed tail, and small crescent-shaped ears. Meerkats are social animals and live in groups or packs that are called mobs. The group is led by a dominant male and female pair and only this pair is allowed to breed within that group. Gestation is eleven weeks and young are weaned at six-nine weeks. Non breeding helpers of both sexes baby-sit young while the mother forages to sustain an adequate milk supply. All mob adults will protect and share food with the young and will teach babies to hunt and forage. Sexual maturity is attained at one year of age. Meerkats are carnivorous mammals that will eat insects, scorpions, small mammals, and even small reptiles. These creatures love the sun. They have dark fur patches located on their belly that simulates a solar panel, which will warm up the animal’s body temperature prior to activity or sleep.
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO: The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at http://www.oaklandzoo.org.