News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351, 
April 5, 2024

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Meerkat Pups Born at Brookfield Zoo Chicago

Chicago, Ill. — Brookfield Zoo Chicago recently welcomed four meerkat pups born on February 11. Guests can now see the nearly 2-month-old meerkats, who have just begun venturing out in their habitat at the Zoo’s Desert’s Edge.

The two male and two female pups were born to Naomi, the 2½-year-old mother, and the sire, 3-year-old Tebogo, who both arrived at the Zoo in April 2023 on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. This is the first successful meerkat litter at Brookfield Zoo Chicago since 2010.

The meerkat is a small mammal found in the western regions of southern Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. At birth, meerkat pups are sparsely furred and blind, opening their eyes at about 2 weeks old. They are usually weaned by 9 weeks old, although they may begin eating solid food before then. When full grown, meerkats are between 10 to 14 inches in length with a 7- to 10-inch tail. Individuals in the group take turns watching for predators while the other members search for food. While standing patrol, a meerkat will sit up straight on an elevated area and scans the surroundings as well as the sky.

Those interested in helping care for the meerkats at Brookfield Zoo Chicago can contribute to the Animal Adoption program. For $35, a recipient receives the Basic Package, which includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of a meerkat, a personalized certificate of adoption, a fact sheet on the species, an Animal Adoption program decal, and an invitation to the exclusive 2024 Animal Adoption summer event. To purchase, visit

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Photo Captions (credit: Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo Chicago)
2325, 2350, 2404, 2409, 2468, and 2044: Four meerkat pups were born at Brookfield Zoo Chicago on February 11. Guests can see them in their habitat at the Zoo’s Desert’s Edge.

About Brookfield Zoo Chicago
Celebrating 90 years as a global leader in animal well-being and conservation, Brookfield Zoo Chicago inspires conservation leadership by igniting emotional connections for people with wildlife and nature, locally and globally. The Zoo is a private nonprofit organization that operates on 235 acres of land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 species, including many of Earth’s most endangered. Brookfield Zoo Chicago was the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and ArbNet. For more information, visit