I saw Meerkat Manor's next-to-last episode of Season 3. All I can say is that I knew this was coming, from having read the "Spoilers" discussion forum on Animal Planet's site, but it was still a tough episode. We've lost several "main characters" already this season, and tonight we saw the passing of yet another meerkat whom we've followed for all three seasons. Poor little Mozart. :o( She was part of a small splinter group of meerkats that had left other, larger neighboring families. Unfortunately, drought, food shortage, and illness took its toll on their little mob of seven. By the end of last week's episode, Mozart was the last survivor of the Starsky group. By the end of tonight's episode, battling the desert solo had proven to be too much for her. According to the program, she was most likely killed by a jackal. However, the fact that her little body was lying in the sand :o(, not injured in any obvious way, makes me think that illness and/or starvation were more likely explanations. Either way, although I knew in advance that we were going to lose Mozart before the season was over, it still saddened me to see that she's gone.
Mother Nature is one tough cookie and she doesn't cut her charges any slack whatsoever. Which is why the nature programs that actually follow real-life happenings in the wild don't always have happy endings to every plotline. They can't. The real world doesn't work that way.
But just because I understand that this is the way the world works doesn't mean I have to LIKE it. I wish I could send some happily-ever-after Disney-like endings over to the little furball critters living in the Kalahari Desert. It's been a rough year for a lot of them.