March 19, 2009 -
Two of Knoxville Zoo’s newest residents are making their debut this week.
The meerkat babies, known as kits, are making their first foray into their exhibit under the watchful eyes
of their parents. At six weeks of age, the kits are actively exploring and extremely playful. Although
still nursing, they have started to forage and eat solid foods.
“The birth of the meerkat kits has been very exciting for us, and I think
our visitors will definitely share our enthusiasm,” says Lisa New, director
of mammals for Knoxville Zoo. “Not only is this the first time we have
had meerkats successfully breed and reproduce here at Knoxville Zoo,
they’re incredibly cute babies.”
Meerkats are members of the mongoose family, and live in a social group
called a mob. Meerkats are known for their anti-predator behavior, with
one or more meerkats standing sentry to warn the rest of the mob of any
approaching danger. In the wild, meerkats are found in Sub-Saharan
Knoxville Zoo has two groups of meerkats currently rotating on exhibit. Meerkats are sensitive to cold
weather, and will be off-exhibit on days when the temperature will not reach 60 degrees.
Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392A from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day.
The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to
the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the
zoo is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3:00 p.m.
For more information, please call 865-637-5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxville-zoo.org.