Three meerkat pups were born at the Oakland Zoo. Their names are African in origin and are Ayo (joy), Rufaro (happiness), and Nandi (sweet). The pups are approaching six weeks of age and are doing well.
According to Victor Alm, Zoological Manager:
“It has been wonderful watching the mob [group of meerkats] raise the pups. It has truly been a collective effort and all the adults are taking their turns caring for and teaching the new pups their different roles and jobs needed to be a productive meerkat.”
In the wild, meerkats inhabit the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. They are physically adapted to living in the harsh desert environment. Dark patches around their eyes help them be effective lookouts by reducing the glare of the sun, much like a baseball player who paints dark lines beneath his eyes.
To learn more about meerkats, see our our Meerkat Facts page.