Mysore, June 7 (DV)- A pair of Meerkats have arrived at the City Zoo here from the world famous Singapore Zoo on Saturday. Meerkats belong to the Mongoose species of African origin.

"The Meerkat couple that left Singapore in a plane at 8.30 pm on Friday, reached Chennai at 10.30 pm and reach Mysore Zoo the next day. Zoo veterinary doctors and staff had gone to Chennai to bring them," said Zoo Deputy Director K.B. Belliappa.

"Under the Animal Exchange Scheme, we have obtained a pair of Meerkats, 3 male and 1 female African wild dogs from Singapore Zoo in exchange for 1 pair of sloth bear of Mysore Zoo," Belliappa said.

"Singapore Zoo is world famous. The Mysore Zoo has established a close liaison with them with regard to exchange of animals successfully," he said.

The male Meerkat is aged 5 years, 7 months and the female is 1 year, 11 months. At Singapore Zoo, these cats were given mealworm, chicken drumstick and apple as food. This will be continued at Mysore Zoo also. The exchange scheme was started in 2008 itself, Zoo Manager Shivanna said.

For the time being,the Merkats will be housed in a room near the Zoo veterinary hospital and their movements and health will be watched and later allowed for public view. Separate rooms are getting ready for them. By nature, the cats dig the ground and make pits. Therefore, the floor will be constructed with cement covered with mud and only then they will be allowed free movement Belliappa said.

The Meerkat or Suricate (Suricata suricatta) is a mammal, of the mongoose family. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and in South Africa. A group of Meerkats is called a mob, gang or clan.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore