Saturday, September 29, 2007

The episode of Meerkat Manor that I've been dreading for nearly a month aired last night. I'm surprised I didn't cry outright, but I did well up, as I've done repeatedly since I read the spoiler in early September (and as I'm doing now). Had I not had weeks of advance warning, I'm sure I'd have cried my eyes out the moment the scene came on.

RIP Flower, the most successful dominant female meerkat, and matriarch of one of the few mobs that's thriving even as neighboring groups falter due to drought and sickness. (The TV program hasn't mentioned this, but human TB is decimating the populations of some wild animals in the Kalahari, including meerkats.) She died valiantly, attempting to drive away a cape cobra that had entered the family burrow where her newborn pups were.

The show didn't mention how the cobra finally did get sent packing -- but we do see that at least one pup from that litter did survive, so Flower's defense of her litter was not in vain.

I hope Flower's daughters learned well from her example of how to be a successful matriarch. They'll need every moment of every lesson to keep the meerkat population going, with the serious problems facing the species as a whole.

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