The meerkats enclosure is situated inside the Specialist Clinics area of the new hospital. Nine meerkats will inhabit the display which is set to brighten the lives of sick children.
The meerkats will delight, engage, entertain and most importantly distract children from the fact they’re in a hospital.
The meerkats have lived together for several years at Melbourne Zoo. The oldest was born in 1999 and the youngest in 2004. There are six males and three females. They are not a breeding group so the number is not expected to grow.
The display replicates the natural habitat of a meerkat, being open air and providing maximum sunlight exposure.
The meerkat enclosure is one of the community partnership programs that form part of the new RCH Project. The concept was developed for a partnership with Melbourne Zoo.
Staff at Melbourne Zoo will visit the hospital every day to clean, feed and care for the animals as well as providing educational sessions to children.
Other community partnerships include: Advanced Aquarium Technologies which will provide for the supply and on-going operation of the aquarium; Hoyts Corporation (Bean Bag Cinema) and Museum Victoria (Scienceworks) which has provided interactive displays in designated areas, such as waiting rooms.