In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 9, the staff at the Reid Park Zoo performing rounds discovered three adult meerkats huddled around squirming legs—the excited gesticulations of five newborn pups.
The meerkats are the first-ever of the species born at the zoo and came only three days after the zoo announced the birth of a 295-pound African elephant calf.
“We are proud of our new little family and can’t wait for the pups to make their public debut,” said Nancy Kluge, president, and CEO of Reid Park Zoo, in a statement.
According to the zoo, meerkat pups are largely helpless for the first few weeks of life because they are born with both eyes shut ears and very little hair. Adults share child-rearing roles.
According to Animal Care Supervisor Adam Ramsey, all three adults, who are also first-time parents, are “doing an excellent job of parenting.”
“Both females are nursing, grooming and cuddling the babies to keep them warm,” Ramsey said.
The species arrived at the zoo in 2017 as part of a breeding recommendation in cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Meerkats are a member of the mongoose family and are found in the desert and grasslands of Africa.
Even though the zoo is closed to the public, you can still check in on the animals through virtual visits on the Reid Park Zoo’s social media accounts and at reidparkzoo.org