What an extraordinary day. A beautiful morning. Had a very nice young couple on the tour. Walked till about 3 meter from a Korhaan, every thing was beaut.
Got in my truck and on my way to the gate i spot a strange meerkat about 200m away on one of the secondary burrows on the opposite side of the burrowing territory to where we last saw the my meerkats.
I send my guests on their way and took my binoculars and sneaked down towards this intruder.
Now there is one thing a meerkat can not handle and that is solitude. very few meerkats survive for very long on their own. The moment they do not see other meerkat, they constantly give a distress call, hoping to attract the attention of their family or any meerkat as long as he doesn't have to spend another moment alone
Meerkat males are kicked out of their family the moment they start showing any sign's of hormonal activity. Now this will happen around one year to eighteen months.
They will then be on their own till they can find other bachelor males or they can lure a female away from her family to go and start their own family. This is a very dangerous time for young males because if they enter to deep into other meerkats burrowing Territory they will get killed by the resident family.
This intruder was definitely a male, I could see this by his sturdy build.
As i watched i could hear his very clear distress call above the howling pre-coldfront wind. Normally meerkat's communicate in very low frequency tones so as not to attract the attention of predators, but the high pitch distress call can clearly be heard for over 800 meters, for that is how far away we left the other meerkats, and they could clearly hear him because all of a sudden they came running all the way from the other side of their Territory.
As they reach the burrow where we have heard and seen this lone ranger, there were no sign of this guy. I followed very Cautiously as not to interfere with natures course. But neither me or the rest of the family could find any sign of this young meerkat.
All of a sudden Moner (our dominant male) found a sent or saw the intruder and the chase were on. To prevent any interference i moved myself higher up the embankment to the east of the burrowing territory and settled down in between the succulents and shrubs to watch the chase from the side like a tennis ref. The twenty five hectare burrowing aria in front of me were like my own sports field. Threw my binoculars i watched for the next hour and a half how this cunning suitor of fair meerkat beauty's, conqueror of the Karroo harsh lands out witted, out smart and out everything my loving meerkat family. They would see him fifty meters away standing proud on a termite mound showing his broad shoulders and manly stature for all the females in the family to see. And every time Moner would scream the command to attack , and again he (the intruder) would disappear just to reappear fifty or so meters away in the opposite direction.
Either he got tired or bored but eventually he just disappeared and our gallant family just started foraging like nothing happened.
I returned in the afternoon to find my little family on the other side of their territory. No sign of the intruder.
The question is now: did they find him and kill him?
: are one of our young females going to find him and follow him to their own little burrow?
:Or are the presence of another male going to push our own young juvenile male( who is now 16 months) into action and will he join this bachelor to go on looking for other females somewhere in the Karroo.
We will have to wait and see.