FIVE new meerkat pups make their summer debut at Woburn – and keepers want your help to name them!

The school holidays can be busy for anyone looking after little ones, and this summer the slender-tailed meerkats at Woburn will also have their paws-full as five new pups joined the Safari Park mob!
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The quintuplets were born on 5th July, and recently took their first steps into their main enclosure – much to the delight of keepers and visitors.

The fluffy-haired youngsters were a little hesitant at first having spent their first few weeks in the house with mum, Pansy, but one brave pup led the way out into the sand. Eventually all five little ones made their way out for their first run around, before seeking reassurance from their nearby parents and finally heading back in to the comfort of the house for a well-earned rest.

Keeper Lianne, Deputy Head of Animal Encounters, says: “Although the individual pups are tiny, a litter of this size will be a real handful for the mob as they start to get more confident and explore their surroundings – it’s going to be a lot of fun for keepers and visitors to watch what mischief this fab five get up to!”

Five meerkat pups born at Woburn stand at the house entrance Five meerkat pups born at Woburn stand at the house entrance
Five meerkat pups born at Woburn stand at the house entrance

Meerkat mobs live in large family groups led by a dominant pair - in this case, the new parents - but the rest of the mob will play an important role in caring for the litter.

The pups will learn important social skills like play and communication from the older meerkats, as well as natural behaviours like foraging, burrowing and grooming. They’ll also learn about the mob’s hierarchy, and eventually how to take turns in looking out for each other by sitting on century and guarding the mob from potential predators, just like in the wild.

Lianne added: “Pansy is the matriarch of the group, and has already proven herself to be a fantastic mother. Together with her partner Brendan she’s welcomed a number of litters in the last few years, and the mob is going from strength to strength - it might just be a bit chaotic for a few weeks whilst the new parents and little ones are still finding their feet!”

The pups are yet to be sexed or receive any names, and Keepers will be turning to their social media followers to ask for their help in picking the best name for the eldest of the quintet in the coming weeks, so follow them on facebook.com/woburnsafaripark and instagram.com/woburn_safari for your chance to get involved.