This week all eight meerkats were given access to one of the two rooms in their exhibit. In preparation, keepers coated the guest viewing window with wax. This is typically done so that animals see that there is a barrier there and don't run into it. After we let these little guys out they explored the entire exhibit from top to bottom. When they finally found the window they actually seemed annoyed that they couldn't see out!
So we cleaned off a small section about 8 inches in diameter. All eight tried to peek through the small opening so we had to make it bigger. While we cleaned off the wax with a towel, one of the meerkats stood on the other side of the glass and seemed mesmerized by the circular motions of the towel. It was really cute to watch!
At this point we decided to remove most of the wax to allow them to watch some of the last minute preparations taking place outside their exhibit. Later this week we will introduce the group to zoo staff to observe how they are going to react to crowds, like the ones we hope to get this summer. If the window cleaning encounter was any indication, they are going to be just fine.
Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.