DZP Keepers call on specialist help to manage Meerkats
Keepers at Dartmoor Zoological Park formed an unlikely partnership this week. Faced with the difficult task of finding out what their meerkats have been up to below ground, head keeper Colin Northcott turned to Plymouth based drain inspection specialists, Lanes for Drains, for help.
The mating pair of meerkats, Sue and Timon, moved into their new enclosure at the end of May and settled down to the business of starting a family almost immediately.
“With a potential pregnancy on the cards” explains Colin, “knowing what the meerkats are up to below ground is crucial. If Sue has decided to begin nesting in the tunnels, then we need to locate it as soon as possible. The specialists at Lanes for Drains provided us with a way to do that without causing the animals any distress.”
When the enclosure was built, maintenance staff installed a small network of underground piping which mimics their natural environment and provides access to a temperature controlled house.
“The piping is an essential part of the enclosure” says Colin, “giving them a fixed underground environment like this ensures that we are able to isolate them should they require medical attention.”
Lanes for Drains welcomed the chance of searching for evidence of meerkat behaviour as opposed to the usual contents of drains. Using their latest CCTV camera technology Lanes were able to help determine the behavioural patterns of the meerkats to the complete satisfaction of the Zoo.