A new family of six baby meerkats has been born at Bridlington Birds of Prey and Animal Park.
The babies were born around two weeks ago but were rejected by their mother and had to be rescued by staff at the park.
Clare Steele, of the Covert Lane park, is currently looking after the tiny animals at her home in Wilsthorpe.
She said: “We think the reason she rejected them was because she gave birth to six, whereas they normally have a litter of three to five babies.
“Our intention was to leave them with their mother but what happened was one of the keepers saw two of them were nearly dead so we have had to scoop them up and bring them home and syringe feed them. Otherwise they would have died - their mum would have eaten them.”
Clare explained staff at the centre aim to refrain from interfering in the natural behaviour patterns of the animals, including the five adult meerkats already on site.
She said: “If there is something wrong with he litter she will kill them. She has had babies before but she killed four. There was one left and I managed to get that to 10 days before it died. Obviously there must have been something wrong with that litter.”
The meerkats have to be syringe fed every three hours, which Clare said is a tiring job to keep up 24 hours a day. They will return to the park as soon as they are on solid food in around seven weeks time.
“They are doing fantastically, they are really active and their eyes are open now. They have got very complex behaviour patterns and they are very noisy,” said Clare.
She added: “We want to make it very clear to people that meerkats are not a pet. Meerkats should never be a pet.”
Murray Hills Solicitors has sponsored the babies and donated some powdered milk to help feed them until they are strong enough to return to the animal centre.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “Murray Hills Solicitors decided to sponsor a baby meerkat at the park as our staff enjoy the attractions Bridlington Birds of Prey and Animal Park has to offer and wanted to help out another local business and of course the beautiful baby meerkats.”
A new enclosure will be built especially for the meerkats because they will not be accepted back into the parent group currently at the park.
Visitors to the Covert Lane park can enter a competition to find names for each of the babies. Anyone is welcome to enter and a competition form can be picked up from the park, or from Murray Hills Solicitors in King Street, Bridlington.
For more information visit www.bridlingtonanimalpark.co.uk