The meerkat is a small, highly intelligent and highly sociable burrowing mammal and is a member of the mongoose family.
Despite its name (which is Dutch/Afrikaans in origin) meaning “lake cat” it is not actually a member of the cat family at all, nor is it always to be found around lakes as it is native to the deserts and sparse shrubland of southern Africa!
In recent times the level of interest surrounding the meerkat as a species has rocketed, due in no small part to an amusing and very popular television advert for an insurance comparison site called Compare the Market (comparethemarket.com).
The TV ad features a spoof sister website called Compare the Meekat (comparethemeerkat.com). The star of the show is Aleksandr Orlov, a talking meerkat from Moscow with a Russian accent and a catchphrase of ‘Simples!’.
You can adopt a meerkat from just £3.50 and you will receive a wonderful meerkat adoption pack containing the items listed below.
Meerkat adoption pack details:
When you adopt a meerkat you will be helping the Aspinall Foundation to protect this and other species and their habitats. You will also receive an adoption pack that includes:
- Your adopted meerkat e-factsheet
- Your adopted meerkat PC wallpaper
- An e-certificate for your adopted meerkat
- A monthly e-newsletter about our parks
- Twice yearly updates on your adopted meerkat by email
- A FREE entry to Howletts or Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks – so you can come and
visit your adopted meerkat!
Threats and challenges to the meerkat species
The IUCN Redlist currently classifies the meerkat conservation status as “Lower Risk / Least Concern” and the species itself is not currently facing any direct major threats although numbers can be massively adversely affected by prolonged dry spells. For example, in 1995 the Kalahari desert population of meerkats declined by around 60% due to a sustained reduction in rainfall. Meerkats could be said to be under threat due to climate change as is the case with many other animals that share their habitat.
You will be adopting the gang of meerkats at Port Lympne which currently has 4 members. They arrived from Knowsley Safari Park in 2005 and are the first meerkats to make Port Lympne their home. The meerkats are very friendly and will come when called – they can even be fed by visitors in the summer months!
In the wild, meerkats will eat almost anything that they can get their claws on from insects to plants, egges, other small mammals, small birds, snakes, and lizards – even scorpions – they are immune to many kinds of poisonous venom that would kill a human!
While foraging for food in the wild, members of the group (known as a gang, mob or clan) will climb to an elevated position to take on the role of a sentry – standing on their back legs and keeping watch for predators and alerting the other gang members as necessary.
Meerkats are incredibly intelligent and their social structure is very intricate – they are the first non-human species to be observed actively teaching their young.
If you adopt a meerkat today you will be giving the meerkat and other species a better chance of survival for the future. Just £3.00 per month will help to protect, feed, and keep healthy and enriched through play, the meerkats which are in care via The Aspinall Foundation around the world.
Where will my meerkat adoption donation money go?
The Aspinall Foundation works in conjunction with Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks in the UK to protect rare and endangered animals, and return them to protected areas in the wild. It is a sad fact that humans are likely to cause the extinction of a quarter of all known species in the next 20 years, unless we work together to protect them now.
Animal adoptions make wonderful ethical gifts so why not treat a friend or family member to one of the fantastic meerkat adoption packs and be safe in the knowledge that you have contributed towards helping the meerkat species to survive.