Episode 4 - Politicals of Meerkats and the introduction of two Snow Leopards

This week’s episode is all about our Carnivore Division. From the large animals to the small, but still very powerful, you’ll get an insight into the political machinations of the Meerkats and see the introduction of two exquisitely beautiful Snow Leopards.

Think Meerkats are cute and cuddly? Think again.

In this week’s episode of Wild Life at the Zoo, political rivalries between the female Meerkats boil to the surface. It’s sister versus sister as they battle it out to see who will be the alpha female of the group.

Get to know the Meerkats like the keepers do. They say there is never a dull moment with the group, and when you know the personalities, the keepers say it’s like a real life episode of the ‘Bold and the Beautiful’.

You’ll also have a front row seat for the introduction of two of the most elusive big cats on the planet, the Snow Leopards.

‘Khumbu’, a young, sweet natured male makes the move from Port Macquarie to be matched with Taronga’s experienced and confident female ‘Samara’.

Genetically they’re a perfect match and their coupling could produce offspring putting the species one step further away from extinction, but will they get along?

The episode gives a small insight into the world of a Carnivore Keeper, the keepers who dedicate their lives to caring for some of our well known animals like the lions and tigers, to the more obscure, the binturongs and tapir.

Meet Louise Ginman, the supervisor of the Carnivore Division and find out more about this fascinating area of the Zoo.

Louise Ginman: Unit Supervisor, Carnivores

Louise has been working as a keeper at Taronga Zoo for over 18 years. She began in 1994 in the Zoo’s then Discovery Farm exhibit working with domestic animals including pigs and sheep. After three months she transferred to Carnivores and now is the Unit’s Supervisor.

Louise has been passionate about animals as long as she can remember, surrounding herself with pets of all kinds. After travelling for two years, Louise began working in a veterinary hospital learning on the job as much as she could for four years, before applying for the role as keeper at Taronga.

The best part of Louise’s job is being able to work with a large variety of incredible animals – from the impressive Sumatran Tigers and Sun Bears, to the lesser known tiny Fennec Fox and Dholes.

The wildest moment of Louise’s career can’t be narrowed down to one single experience. Any day when a baby is born is special for keepers – especially when the breeding success has been a culmination of years of planning, months or years of careful introductions, weeks of preparation and setting up for the birth.

“One of my career highlights was definitely hand-rearing three African lion cubs, one of which still lives at Taronga – our dominant male ‘Bruiser’. This was my first hand-rearing experience with big cats and it was amazing playing mum to such a majestic animal. Those opportunities don’t come along often, but does make my job very special.”