COAL VALLEY, Ill. (KWQC) – The zoo director of the Niabi Zoo says they are saddened by the death of a meerkat.
According to Zoo Director Lee Jackson, a five-year-old male meerkat was euthanized this week as the result of a rapidly-progressing, rare brain tumor. Animal care staff determined the meerkat was losing neurological functions. Keepers were monitoring the animal for weeks, but Jackson says the situation progressed quickly and was affecting the animal’s quality of life saying, “These types of tumors impact neurological functions and are hereditary. Care and environment are not indicated factors in studied diagnosis. It was humane to euthanize, and we are all very saddened by the loss.”
The meerkat was part of a trio of meerkats. The male meerkat that died was born at Glady Porter Zoo in Brownville, Texas and came to Niabi in October 2015.
The hereditary neurological issue, which is not contagious, was not detected upon arrival at the zoo. Jackson says it is nearly impossible to diagnose prior to symptoms being displayed.
The two remaining meerkats are not presenting any symptoms of the tumor and will remain at the zoo. A third meerkat will not be reintroduced to the group because the animals are territorial and don’t accept outsiders.
The news of the meerkat’s euthanization comes just days after the zoo announced half of the animal handlers have resigned.