Lion cubs and painted dogs get new neighbors

meerkat bubbleCINCINNATI (July 2, 2015) – The population explosion continues in Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Africa exhibit.  Six meerkats from Disney’s Animal Kingdom have moved in across from the lions, painted dogs, vultures, pelicans, ostriches and assorted hoof stock.  “Bert,” “Louis” and “Zevon” are brothers born on June 23, 2014; “Santana” was born on November 1, 2009, and “Mark” and “Shakira” are siblings born on September 14, 2014. They’re all named after famous musicians.

The new meerkat exhibit  features a pop up bubble that allows your child (or the child in you) to get a rare, up close view of these charismatic creatures.  Meerkats are known for their upright posture and the tennis-match-style head turns they use to scan the African desert where they live. They tend to be skittish and often hide in holes to protect themselves from predators and heat. “With a group this large, visitors are likely to see meerkats from the various viewing areas even if some of the meerkats are hiding in the exhibit,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo.

These clever “kats” live in tight-knit social groups and use a variety of calls and purrs to alert each other when incoming prey is spotted. Meerkats are omnivores that will eat everything from insects and lizards to birds and fruit.  Mothers can give birth to two – four offspring each year. Fathers and siblings play a part in the care and development of young meerkats.

The meerkat exhibit is a free with Zoo admission.