By Hannah Stevens @hannahshewans
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Videographer / director: ZooBorns
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Born on 18 August, the duo have just started to venture outside of their nest box to explore Taronga’s African-themed meerkat exhibit.
Keeper Courtney Mahoney said: “They were eager to investigate their new surroundings. These pups are more confident and adventurous than the previous litter and I think that’s because they have mum, dad and two siblings to support and protect them.”
Although their gender has not been confirmed, keepers suspect that they are both female.
It is the second litter for proud parents Nairobi and Maputo, following the birth of male Lwazi and female Serati in January.
Meerkats are most commonly found in South Africa and live in extended family groups called mobs or gangs.
Each mob is led by a dominant couple who produce two to four pups a year, while other members of the gang act as babysitters for the couple’s pups.
Mahoney said: “They are fantastic and attentive parents, but it’s also been wonderful to watch big sister Serati play a role in caring for the pups.
“She’s grooming them, helping to babysit and always checking on them to make sure they’re safe.
“It’s incredible to see such a young Meerkat stepping up and taking on that responsibility.”
When meerkat pups are born they have no hair, sight or hearing and only weigh between 25 and 30 grams.
The curious duo are already tipping the scales at over 150 grams and have started to sample solid foods, like mealworms and vegetables.
Courtney said: “They’re eating most of the adult diet. Mum and dad will collect insects for them and they’re starting to nibble on some fruit and veggies.”
Now the inquisitive pups are being taught the key skills of being a meerkat, including digging, finding food and - most importantly - sentry duty, when meerkats rise up on their hind legs to scan their surroundings for any potential threats.
Visitors to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo will start to see their newest additions for short periods each day, as the pups are slowly introduced to the outside world under the watchful eyes of their parents and keepers.