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Meerkats Mobs Take Over the LA Zoo

Meet Chico and Barky | Photo by Jamie Pham/LA Zoo
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The LA Zoo is now home to two groups, or mobs, of Meerkats, who are native to southern Africa. Two reside in the cute-as-ever Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and four just arrived from the North Carolina Zoo making their home at the meerkat habitat.

Why two areas? "Meerkats are highly territorial and rarely allow an outsider to join their group," a zoo news release says. The mob from North Carolina is already an established family and adding the zoo's only long-time resident meerkat, Chico, to the group would be dangerous to his survival. So a solution--another similarly aged Meerkat named Barky--was found at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virgina.

"As one of our older residents, Chico requires some special care so we knew introducing him to a group probably wasn’t in his best interest," Zoo Director John Lewis said in a statement. "We were happy to work with the Virginia Zoo to provide a companion animal for him."