“The educational and the entertainment component that they’re going to bring to the zoo and to the visitors, I do see a resurgence of The Lion King big time in the city,” said Dawn Woroniuk, the executive director of the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation.
Ten meerkats divided into two mobs make up the new exhibit called Meerkat House. It took four weeks to flip the facility from the former Komodo Island exhibit.
The meerkats range in age from two to five years old and can live up to 15 years of age in captivity.
WATCH: Meerkats move in at Saskatoon zoo
Six of the animals came from the Edmonton Valley Zoo and the other four from a zoo in Peterborough, Ont.
“These guys came from two different facilities. That’s why we have two different mobs. We can never put them together or we’ll have mob wars going on,” zoo manager Tim Sinclair-Smith said.
Zoo staff installed an underground tunnel system to recreate a natural habitat for the African species.
“There’s all these boxes with interconnecting tunnels run all through here on both sides. That’s where they’ll go down at night and sleep. If there was predators flying around, they would run down inside those holes for protection,” Sinclair-Smith said.
Visitors will have their first opportunity to see the meerkats in their permanent home when the exhibit opens to the public on Sunday, April 1.