By Bay City News Service
The Oakland Zoo is welcoming three new pups to its meerkat exhibit, officials announced Sunday.
The pups, named Ayo, Rufaro and Nandi, are nearly six weeks old and bring the size of the zoo's existing meerkat mob to eight, according to zoo officials.
The litter is the first successful one among the meerkats in more than a year. Meerkat pups are very fragile and it is not uncommon for members of a meerkat mob to kill pups, but the mob has taken good care of this litter so far, according to zoo officials.
"It has been wonderful watching the mob raise the pups," said Victor Alm, zoological manager. "It has truly been a collective effort and all the adults are taking their turns caring for and teaching the new pups their different roles and jobs needed to be a productive meerkat."
The sexes of the pups remain unknown so far because keepers have "been very hands off," zoo officials said in a statement.
Meerkats can weigh up to two pounds as adults. They live in social groups called mobs led by a dominant male and female, and the dominant pair will generally not tolerate pregnancies and births by other members of the mob. Meerkats eat insects, scorpions, small mammals and even small reptiles, as well as small amounts of roots, fruit or vegetables.
Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.