Taronga Zoo in Sydney now boasts two extremely cute baby meerkats – Zanzibar and Nairobi, (the two tiny ones just above) born in January, bringing the zoo’s meerkat family to a total of nine. I have always been fascinated by these little creatures, with their quirkily alert little faces and upright almost human stance. They are said to be quite precocious, intelligent and social animals. Interestingly the females tend to be larger and more dominant than their male counterparts who have somewhat more relaxed laid back personalities.
Fellow Earthlings Wildlife Centre, http://www.fellowearthlings.org/index.html situated in the desert of California, is a unique facility that specializes in caring for meerkats that may be orphaned, injured, old, sick or unable to be housed. Such animals are usually sent to the Centre by other zoological establishments. The meerkats sent there are given homes for the rest of their lives. Visitors can visit them at certain times of the year, interact with, hand feed and even sponsor them. One of the Centre’s meerkats was in fact the inspiration for the endearing Disney character Timon in the movie “The Lion King”
According to the Fellow Earthlings Wildlife Centre, the Meerkat Motto, (which we humans could do very well to adopt also) is:
Respect the Elders
Teach the Young
Cooperate with the Family
Play when you can
Work when you should
Rest in between
Share your Affection
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark
There are some delightful pictures and fascinating information on their website, including this gem describing how they feel about their little charges:
“They remind us how important it is to enjoy the simple pleasures ~ the warmth of the morning sun on your face, the afternoon breeze that whispers in your ear, the lovely pink sunset that wraps the world in a magical light. Each afternoon, we pause from our chores and join the meerkats in their ritual of bidding adieu to the sun as it settles behind the mountains. In the stillness, after the light slips away, we are grateful for the beauty that surrounds us and the wondrous little creatures that grace our lives and teach us about what really matters.
These sentiments could just as well describe how most animal lovers feel about the animals in their care, I suspect (as I wrote about in my last post).