A one-month-old meerkat that vanished from Perth Zoo shortly after it started venturing out of its nest box was probably taken by a predatory bird, a devastated staff member says.
Staff hadn’t yet got close enough to determine its sex and give it a name, and were planning to unveil the mob’s newest addition at a media event on Thursday.
But instead, they were reviewing CCTV footage from around the zoo and near the meerkat exhibit, believing the newborn may have been stolen.
“Though we’re not 100 per cent ruling out theft, the probability is we’re leaning toward a predatory bird having taken the meerkat kit,” curator John Lemon told reporters.
“This is not unheard of both for zoo-born animals and in the wild.
“That’s what they’ve become famous for – their sentinel duties looking watch for predatory birds in the sky.”
The meerkitten had dedicated staff monitoring it throughout the day and it was last seen 30 minutes before evening checks.
The mother, Bamba, was brought to Perth from Werribee Open Range Zoo in Victoria and it is suspected Perth Zoo-born male Runako may have been the father.