A German zoo has had almost their entire population of meerkats killed after they riddled their enclosure with tunnels which then collapsed killing 6 of the 8 animals in the group.
Keepers raised the alarm at Frankfurt Zoo in Germany when they had not seen the animals for some time and at first believed they had escaped from their cage, despite the fact that the enclosure has a concrete bottom and is surrounded by an electric fence. It was only when this was ruled out that staff decided to start digging underground to try and find them. They then made the grim discovery of the bodies of the dead meerkats about a half a metre under the surface.
Zoo spokesperson Christine Kurrle said: "All six meerkats were found dead together in the collapsed tunnel." It is thought the meerkats died from suffocation about two weeks ago when it is estimated that the tunnel they had dug probably caved in. Kurrle said "Experts are investigating their compound but regardless of what you find everybody here at the zoo is very sad about what has happened.
"We only have two meerkats left now, Goliath and Gabriel. They survived because at the time of the accident - they were in another enclosure." Keepers said that the enclosure for the animals had been carefully filled with a mixture of gravel and clay which it was felt was suitable for their tunnels and for them to dig in, but that this would now be reviewed.