A group of meerkats is called a “mob” and the Zoo’s just keeps getting bigger, with litters born in 2012 and 2015.
- Is the matriarch of the mob and mother of litters born in March 2012 and May 2015
- Arrived from the San Diego Zoo in 2010 with her mate Leo
- Is the mob’s oldest male, sire of both the 2012 and 2015 litters
- Is recognizable by his dark face and “uni-brow”
- Were born in May 2015 — three females and one male
- Have not yet been named
- Kept their number a surprise: keepers didn’t know how many kits were in the litter until they emerged from their underground burrow
- Were the first meerkat kits born at the Zoo since 1999
- Are female siblings, born at the Zoo in March 2012
- Were born in underground “birthing den,” where they stay until they are large enough to venture outdoors at around three weeks old
In memory of SARONGA
- Was the oldest of the mob at age 11, when she was passed away due to congestive heart failure in February 2016
- Had never bred, but was a “babysitter” to the kits born here
- Arrived in Santa Barbara from San Diego Zoo in April 2010
From the Keeper“Meerkats are very scent-oriented, and I like to give them enrichment that stimulates their olfactory senses. It can even be perfumes and cooking spices, so they can experience the new smells. Or it might be from other zoo animals, like straw or used hay from the lions or burlap from the Channel Island foxes. The best reaction I’ve seen was to wool sheared off of the barnyard sheep. The meerkats were all on high alert and they were cautious to approach it, as it was a novel scent for them. They didn’t know if it was safe or not.” -Rachel W.
Meerkats are listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because the species is widespread in southern Africa, and in several protected areas. However, their population can fluctuate greatly within the range and is influenced by rainfall and predation.
Stay on the Trail
Stay on marked trails when exploring natural areas. Many habitats, such as the desert, may look hardy but are actually quite fragile. Small changes in a habitat can make a big difference to the animals living within it.