The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, DC, welcomed the arrival of meerkat triplets on May 10, the first time they've had three born at once in 16 years. The mother, Sadie, is five years old and the father is 6-year-old Frankie. Their brood is the result of the institute's careful selective breeding to ensure genetic diversity. The National Zoo keeps their meerkats together in a "mob" the way they would live in their natural habitat. Their enclosure has constructed burrows that mimic those in the wild. Sadie gave birth in the burrow, as expected, but in the wild, the newborns would stay hidden for about three weeks. Sadie wanted to show off her babies, and brought them out into the exhibit area the same day they were born!
Sadie has been observed nursing the pups, so they are assumed to be healthy. Zookeepers will not handle the pups for some time, so their sex is still unknown. Read more about the new meerkat pups at Zooborns.