Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christ festiville

Hi, i hope you all had a wonderful Christian festival all over the world.
All three the baby's are doing great. You remember i told you that the meerkat's share their burrows with all kind of creatures like bug's, ruts, mongoose and snakes, and that i have recently found a 1,8m cobra skin at the entrance to the burrow that the meerkats were using. well it seem's like Moner ( the dominant male) had a run in with this snake. I don't know what happened to the snake, but Moner had a bite on one of his back leg's and is still recovering.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

3 Survivors

3 Baby's have survived. Very shortly after their birth i found a very fresh s 1.8m cobra skin in one of the entrances to their burrows. but that's the way nature roles, you win some you lose some. The baby's are out foraging with the grownups already. 14 members and Liefie is already pregnant again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2 baby's

well it look like the family has grown to 13. Very odd, for a meerkats can have up to 5 baby's. but then i must say there was a cobra in the burrow last week. I found a 1.8 m skin coming out of one of the burrows. We will watch closely maby they are hiding 1 or 2 baby's.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So the new baby's are not out yet. Liefie looks very pregnant 'again'! Had a little rain yesterday.
I'm sure computers were designed by woman they are so full of S... , I lost a lot of files the other day, they apparently went corrupt. So if you did a meerkat tour around the 17th , 18th of november, i am very sorry your photo's have been lost, or they work for the government because they are corrupt.
Will keep you posted on the baby's cause they should be out any day now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lactation, ovulation build a nation

A meerkat can conceive while she is lactating, she can fall pregnant within 24 hours after giving birth. Gestation period of a meerkat is +- 75 days and Liefie had baby's precisely 76 days after the last baby's were born. The previous baby's were born on the 25th of August and the newest batch on the ninth of November, so do the math.
Every thing else is fine, all the meerkats are healthy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fantastic news

Nothing to exiting happening around Meerkatville. Liefie's pregnancy is progressing very well. All twelve members is still fat and healthy.
We had one run in with a aprox 1,5m cobra but it was resolved very soon.
The fantastic news is that i have been given go ahead on The meerkat and wildlife sanctuary on De Zeekoe property. Now it is the red tape and miles and miles of Nature conservation paperwork that we have to go thru. Then only can i start with all the fundraising. So if you know of any potential sponsors, that can sponsor a enclosure at +- R80000 per enclosure and i'm planing about 12 enclosures, Any info or help of any kind will be appreciated. But all fundraising will only happen once i have a red light from nature conservation.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You think someone would care.

Had a lot of overcast bad weather this week, but eventually it started raining this weekend, well every now and then a drop would hit my hat but nothing serious.
I eventually had an experience where i saw how a young meerkat can get left behind and be forgotten.
Following the gang one afternoon i saw how a young baby got given something big to eat. Very into his food, he did nit notice how the rest of the meerkats kept moving on. By the time that the young meerkat was finish with it's meal the rest of the meerkats was about 250m away. Not one of the other meerkats seem to be aware of the fact that they short a member. Only when they hear our young friends loud complaints about being left behind did they all came running back. If They were out of hearing distance, The loud screeching calls might easily be heard by a predator and that would be the end of a young inexperienced meerkat.

Friday, October 15, 2010

And now there is olny 3

On 25 August 2010 Liefie had 4 baby's.
Yesterday i did not see the meerkats because it was raining. So last night i had to look for telltale sign's of where they have foraged and we did a very wet and cold tour this morning.
As they left the burrows i noticed that there is only 3 baby's so somewhere yesterday we lost one of our baby's and i unfortunately do not not know what happened to it. But it is very sad for every one that had the honor of meeting these little creatures.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Technology does not work so well in Africa

On Saturday my internet died, and because it was weekend i couldn't phone anyone. So naturally i thought i didn't pay my account, so in Monday i payed my account, no luck. Eventually i found out that my account is now in credit and that there is some other technical problem that took another 2 days to sort out. Well i'm back on.
Well it is currently raining in Oudtshoorn and the meerkats are having a feast every time it stop's raining because all insects are on the surface. I can not do any tours but i don't mind one bit for we have been praying so long for rain and now it is here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


So my work is not just fun and games.
Every afternoon i have to find the meerkat's to see where they sleep, so that i know where to take people the next morning. You see the meerkat's live on a 800 hta property.
Now usually their burrow area is only about 20 hta, but they can forage up to 2 or 3 km away from their burrows, and i have seen where they go up to 4 km chasing intruder meerkat's.
The past week and a half they have been gone 3 times that i could not find them and i had to cancel tours, very frustrating!!!
There have been a lot of aerial activity over Meerkat ville, in the form of big flock's of ravens battling over territory and with everything in general.
With young baby's in the group the meerkat's take no chances. So when they come back from foraging and they see these birds all over their burrows they will divert to inferior burrows in another area and sleep there, making it imposible for me to find them.
Yesterday was one of those day's.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

And then they were one

In early november 2009 my life changed dramatically when i met a small group of six meerkats on De Zeekoe, a ostrich farm just outside Oudtshoorn South Africa.
A single female two juvenile females and three baby's, i automatically dubbed them the three musketeers.
Well they have reached sexual maturity this week and two of them turned out to be males, and were naturally thrown out of the family to go and find their own family's.
I met them as baby's, saw them grow up, saw them raise and train their siblings. It is like seeing your own child leave home and go of into the big wide world.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Spend the whole day looking for meerkats. Found them around 14h00 and gues what, Molly has rejoined the group. She doesn't look to welcome and she had to do sentry duty the whole day and every time she walked past Liefie she got scolded, so she is not very popular at home.
All 4 baby's are still surviving.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Me and Molly on a solo trip

The other morning the new baby's were left in the care of the three of the youngest meerkat's. This young guys were not very confidant to stay behind on their own so of they went with four baby's in tow. This is about a week premature, because the babys should only start to forrage in about a week's time. Unfortunately i had to go because of other responsibility's and only returned later in the day to find Molly all on her own and looking very guilty, no sign of any of the other meerkats.( as you know meerkats are social family animals that never leave their family except to start a family of their own). So your guess is as good as mine as to what she was doing on her own, away from the family. I am looking out for a strange male but unfortunately they see me long before i'm near them.
I then followed her on a long walkabout over 800 hkt, in no particular direction at all, i think she was just trying to distract my attention away from where the man of her dreams were hiding.
Because of this long walk it got dark and i could not find the rest of the meerkat's, so i had to bring in reinforcements the next morning to stake out all the potential burrows for the morning tour. That afternoon i again had no joy in finding any meerkats. Now i must inform you guy's this is a first for me, I never have a problem finding the meerkats so you must understand my frustration.
So yesterday afternoon i put put in extra hours, no joy. Found Molly again on her own, followed her again, same ritual, long walk and no other meerkats.
Today there will be no rest till i find them, so watch this space.

Me and Molly on a solo trip

Friday, September 17, 2010

Proud father

Today i feel like a proud father. I have just seen 4 new baby's emerge from the burrows. I had to come home and delete about 200 photo's i have taken this morning just because i got trigger happy with the camera when the baby's came out. very cute.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Special appearance

Tanks to the reliability of the weather beuro none of the last weak's forecasts were correct.
We had a couple of very beautiful sunrise tours.
This morning i had a special surprise when one of the new baby's made an appearance. Unfortunately the baby sitters thought it was to cold and pushed it back down the burrow.
Luckily i could sneak in a photo. Enjoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hopefully this is the week that we see the new baby's.
More baby sitters are been left at the barrows, a sure sign that they are getting active.
Spend Friday Saturday and Sunday shooting a program for Hope TV, Witch will be broadcasted early next year.
Tortoises are very active and that means more snake activity.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What an up lift in tourism in the last 3 weeks, God has been good for us.
Very strange fog or smog or what ever you can call it over Oudtshoorn the last couple of day's. The sun looks very animated on the horizon at night and in the mornings.
The meerkats are still at the same burrows where Liefie had the baby's last week.
They are still to small to come out so we will have to be patient to see how many they are.
Good news is that a friend of mine is bringing his cameras soon and we want to shoot a dvd of the meerkats that will then be for sale on the website very soon.
Will chat soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

God is Great

Had a fantastic week with a lot lot happening in my religious growth.
I told recently that Liefie the dominant female is very pregnant. Well it has happened. During the night she had some baby's because this morning she would not come out of the burrows. And then i noticed suckling marks on Molly's nipples, so the proof is in the pudding. Now it is that 3 to 4 week waiting to see how many survive.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another day in Meerkatville, The meerkats came out very early, kind of preparing for the cold front that is moving in over the Outeniqua mountains.
Liefie is growing bigger and bigger every day, two to three weeks to go.
Also had some rare visitors to the area two secretary birds graced our fields with their presence.
A strange meerkat showed its face the day before yesterday, but were chased off very quickly, i could not get a good look at it but it did not look very familiar.
That's all the news i have for today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Looks like tourist season is slowly following summer out of hibernation. Had a big group yesterday and this morning i had two very nice lady's from the States, complete different reaction to the first sighting of a meerkat, usually there is a lot of ooooo's and aaaa's and sometimes people get a bit emotional, but giggle fit's? that was a new one, well i'd say just as rewarding.
We are eventually back at the main burrows and all eleven meerkats seems very happy and content, even with the military training on the one side and the Corhaan battlefield on the other.
Liefie is doing good in the second half of her pregnancy, her body is starting to get a bit heavy for her legs so she is sitting on her bum a lot more than standing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fare well Cindi

I haven't seen her in 10 day's, so i amuse she has left with the boyfriend. May she have a long, safe life with a lot of children.
Tourist season is very quiet, and then you get those people who phone you for half an hour, book a tour and then just don't have the decency to pitch up or phone you when they can't make it.
Looks like today is my day for complaints.
The meerkats did not come to the main burrows for a couple of day's, very strange when there is no signs of predator activity or strange meerkats and then i find it a spot were someone has urinated right at the main barrows.
You see i very seldom look back when we start walking with the meerkats because they can vanish into the shrubs so quickly, so i must have missed it when someone stayed behind to relieve themselves.
That cent of human urine will stay there for a while and being the cent of a predator it will scare the meerkats away.
I don't mind people releaving themselves in the bush, but not right on top of my burrows.

Monday, July 26, 2010

So i haven't seen Cindi since Friday. Th assume the boyfriend came back for her.
O the confusion in the morning, no one knows who is supposed to do first watch. One of the musketeers and two baby's come out at the same time and sit there very confused, looking very lost.
I'm sure they will sort it out very soon.
A new thing in the Oudtshoorn sky's is a skydiving plane that is very disturbing to the meerkats, you see it take a while for them to get use to these strange birds in the sky. Even when the airport is 10 km away they can still see every plane and parachute.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sentry for an orphan

So summer is here temperature's in the 20's and beautiful days. Yesterday afternoon like everyday i went to the meerkats to see where they were sleeping. And there was Cindi fifty meters away, desperately begging to be let back into the family, but no chance, they just won't budge.
I think it has got a lot to do with confusion as well as misunderstanding.
You see, meerkats do not recognize one another by looking at faces and body shapes, but rely more on imprinting on the tail and smell. So when Cindi decided to follow a boyfriend for a couple of day's she is now seen as a stranger by the family, firstly because she approach them in a very submissive way with her tail low down so they don't really get the chance to see her tail so as to recognize her, so instinctively they come forward to greet her very aggressively which makes her run away and they don't get the chance to see that its Cindi. Secondly she now smells of a different male and that also make them aggressive to her.
She is now sleeping alone in one of the other burrows in the area, you see, the family has driven the strange male out of the area and he has not returned for Cindi. And Cindi wont leave their territory on her own, so she is now orphaned .
So yesterday i spend a couple of hours walking with her and playing sentry for her so that she could get some peaceful foraging time.
Today there were no sign of her, so i hope she is alright. We will just have to see what happens the next couple of day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The prodigal daughter shows herself

Beautiful morning, not a single cloud in the sky.
Took out some crazy Irish people, made me stand like a meerkat to take pictures( They didnt know there were real meerkats!!!!!). I will show the pictures when i get them, they said they will send me one.
Well everything went great all 11 remaining meerkats came out and the tour were going great, till all of a sudden all the tails went up in a challenge. As i look in the direction they were staring there were a meerkat about fifty meters behind me, and guess who , "Cindi" and she was just as exited to see us, she came running up to us till she was about 3 meters behind our chairs. But meerkat life isn't that simple.
When you leave your family for 5 day's like Cindi did, it is just not that simple, you are seen as a intruder, deserter and enemy, especially if you have a boyfriend in tow.
The whole family came charging at her and my hart broke as she turned around, and tail between her legs she had to run for her life. You see; meerkats do not allow deserters to return when they are pregnant and smelling like other males.
They then turned their attention on the foreign male and chased him out of their area.
What an exiting morning, at least i know Cindi is still alive. It is bad losing an animal, but if you know it's alive it makes it bearable.

The saga continue's.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nature is a very tough place

After spending the whole sunday morning at church and at home having a nice family barbecue i again arrived to late to see all the meerkats i only saw 8 of them, so still no sight of Cindi but hoping she was there i went back home.
This morning i got there and like normal the meerkats slept late and we waited till about 08H30 for them to wake up. My hopes were up when i saw the first meerkats face, witch looked like Cindi, but i soon realized it was on of the 3 masketeers when she emerged completely, and i lost more hope as more meerkats emerged and still no Cindi. She has always been the first one up and she would usually fine comb the whole area for about 15 min before any one else would wake up, so she was quit a prominent figure in my life. She was also The only other mature female in the group that could help Liefie to feed the baby's. Now, with Liefie pregnant again, i don't know who is going to help when the new baby's arrive, we just hope Molly is mature enough.
The circle of life proceeds. I think God just reminded me this morning that i'm not here to intervene in nature but only to observe, because only when we take these animals out of nature can we interfere in their lives, but in nature we have to let nature take it's cause.
If animals don't die or leave their herds or family groups, their numbers would soon be more than what nature can produce food for them.
I am still not sure if she is dead or that she hasn't just took of after a boyfriend and is most likely starting her own family somewhere. I will definitely do more investigation and keep you guy's up to date.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Seperation anxiety

The morning was extra crisp, with snow on the mountains and clear blue sky's except for a long thin misty cloud to the east over the Swartberg mountains. I reached the the burrows precisely as the sun raised his bald head over the horizon (can you hear the harmonica playing the good the bad and the ugly in the background) and guess who is waiting for me at burrows, "Cindy" and it is freezing to say the least. Normally she would only wake up about an hour after sunrise. She directly had me worried, either she was sick or she went to sleep to early last night or maybe she had a boyfriend but something was wrong because she seamed a bit restless. She was only out for two or three minutes before she took off to the other side of the burrows and then of on her own as if to go and forage, not waiting for the rest of the family to wake up. She settled on an earth mount about a hundred meters away and for an hour just sat there staring into the distance. By then i knew something must have happened last night because the rest of the family did not spend the night with Cindi at the main barrows, but three hundred meters away in the northern most burrows of the territory. For some unexplained reason they got separated last night and spend the night in separate burrows. the memory of losing one of my meerkat's only two weeks ago are still fresh so I spend the rest of the morning walking up and down their territory but could not find Cindi again, I eventually decided to call it a day and to let nature take it's cause and come back later in the day to see if she has found her way back to the family. Because of other responsibility's i only got to the burrows as the sun was setting and only got a glimpse of two or three meerkats as they were entering the burrows for night, unfortunately not in time to see if Cindi have rejoined the group. We will have to wait till tomorrow to see if she has made it back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What does these three things have in common. One word "Oudtshoorn"
Oudtshoorn is the only place in South Africa, or the world where you will be in the desert,watching meerkats and snow at the same time. It doesn't seem right but it does make a pretty picture especially if you ad a nice looking young lady in the picture.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Again the weather man was wrooooong!!!!!!! he predicted rain for this morning and there were only two clouds in the sky, and i could only see one of them, the other one was in durban. An absolutely beautiful morning.
The meerkats were up and ready for breakfast by 8H00, they even had their hair combed.
They all seem to to be over the loss of their gang member, for i noticed for the first couple of days after it dissipeared they all seamed to hesitate around the burrows every morning as if they were waiting for her to join them. but this morning the all just left to go and forage without hesitation.
Ok, ok ! So i lied about the clouds a little, but there couldn't have been more than three.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Well, and then life go's on. One learn when working with animals that sometimes, most times you out live your animals and sometimes they die long before their time. But never does it get any easier. So losing one of the baby meerkat's was tough but their is still 12 others and i assume i will lose some more in the future. Nature is not for sissies, it is a tough world to live in.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Well it is very quiet in tourism. Got some bad news, one of the baby's has vanished, she did not come back to the burrows last night. I knew it was supposed to happen someday but it's never nice to lose any animal. We are currently busy with a research project on aartvark. The goal is to see if we can habituate an aartvark and see if we can get it to allow us to walk with it. talk soon

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Looks like it is Canadian travel season, the last couple of days was all Canadians, and how blessed can i be with all these lovely, pleasant people. The morning was very crisp, I would say between 0-5ยบ cel, mutch colder than yesterday. we got there at sunrise (07H51) and as the sun creped out over the mountain i turned around from taking the above picture to see Cindy watching me, very unnatural because they usually only get up when the sun has heated up the entrance to the burrows. But then she dissipear down a hole only to emerge an hour later, very peculiar. But what a beautiful morning, God painted the sky in the most beautiful golden color. And again i was fortunate to have that painting in my office.