The Meerkat (suricata suricatta) is an iconic species in South Africa and a frequent visitor to our centre for rehabilitation. The majority of our meerkats are confiscated from the illegal pet trade, handed in by the ‘owners’ when they become disenchanted or even brought to us needing medical care.
Happily, every year, we have the pleasure of releasing our rehabilitated meerkats into pre-release enclosures to begin their journey back into the wild.
This is their story…
FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre typically treats 10,000 cases per year. Over 300 species of indigenous wildlife has been brought in orphaned, sick or injured and in need of our expertise. The meerkats are no exception and this year we have received 41 in total for rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation process for meerkat is a costly and intricate one which is why this creature is featured in our logo and is synonymous with our work. Because of the complex social structure of the meerkat family, it is not a simple case of treat and release. We have to socialise each individual in order to form a niche within the hierarchy of a family group. Many of them have never seen another meerkat and have to learn the social requirements of the species. Although they start as strangers to each other, the groups bond as a family which will then be ready for release together.
Now that our meerkat groups are ready to move to a suitable habitat which will be their new home, we would like to invite you all to follow this journey for the first time ever. Please participate in any way you can, make a small donation, join the competition for prizes and let’s get these meerkats home.