Meerkat Manor - Season Three - Drama and Suspense on the Kalahari
May 22, 2012 (Updated May 22, 2012)
Review by lindaohio
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Fascinating, a mixture of drama, suspense, tragedy and comedy
Cons:Shows the good and the bad
The Bottom Line: Meerkat Manor - Season Three continues the story of the Whiskers clan on the Kalahari. Plenty of drama, suspense, tragedy and comedy. You will be captivated by these little creatures.
Meerkat Manor – Season Three aired on the Animal Planet Network in 2007 and continues the story of Whisker’s and other rival gangs of meerkats on the Kalahari Desert.
Recommend this product?
What is a meerkat?
A meerkat is a diminutive member of the mongoose family. These captivating little creatures average less than 2 pounds and are 9.8”-14” long, not including their tails. Groups of meerkats are called mobs, gangs or clans and can number from 20-50 and sometimes more. Average lifespan in captivity is 12-14 years; but only half of that out in the wild.
If you’re familiar with meerkats, you have probably seen them stand on their hind legs quite a bit. Seeing them in a bunch with their little heads looking around is really cute; but there are important reasons for this activity. When the clan is out foraging for food, one meerkat stands guard at the den. Obviously with their small stature, they can see better if they stand on their hind legs. You also may see a group “on guard” if they sense danger approaching. Another reason is that the desert nights can be very cold. The meerkats come out of the den in the morning and face toward the sun. Their bellies are made to absorb the warmth of the sun so that the meerkats can get rid of the nighttime chill.
Where do they live?
Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, parts of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola and in South Africa. I have an online friend in South Africa; and I was so excited to hear that meekats live in her area.
What do they eat?
Meerkats are primarily insectivores; but they also eat lizards, centipedes, plants, spiders, small mammals, eggs, scorpions, millipedes and rarely small birds. Meerkats have immunity to scorpion venom; and it’s fascinating albeit a little gross, to see them chomp into a scorpion without a care. They have no fat reserves so must forage for food every day.
Why was this series filmed?
This was a special study called the Kalahari Meerkat Project which was filmed in the Kuruman River Reserve in South Africa. This long-term field study’s goal was to document the ecological causes and evolutionary consequences of the cooperative nature of meerkats.
How was this series filmed?
The thirteen episodes cover 7-8 months of the meerkats’ lives during the warmer months. They are less active in the winter months. To keep their presence to a minimum, usually only one cameraman and one sound engineer was on the site at one time. The primary camera used was a Sony DSR570. The burrows were equipped with high-tech mini fiber-optic infra-red cameras. Wide-angle shots were taken using a seven-meter crane and remote-controlled platform. An off-camera wireless microphone was also used. The dominant females, males and some roaming males were fitted with radio collars so that their movements could be tracked.
The series received some criticism since the camera crew did not interfere with any of the meerkat activity – good or bad. They had to film their lives…and deaths as they happened. There are some scenes that animal lovers will find hard to watch, so be forewarned.
I must tell you about one picture that I found on the internet because I love to see a natural interaction with man and a wild animal; and it made me smile. A cameraman is kneeling on the ground, working with his equipment; and a group of meerkats is clustered around him. They had gotten so used to the crew’s non-threatening nature, (and the crew always gave the animals their space), that they felt comfortable walking up to him. Just a note, though…Meerkats are cute but are not pet material! They will bite and mark their territory!
The meerkats may be small; but they are fiercely protective of their territory (which means their food source), clan, mates and supremacy. They are also faced with dangerous predators such as birds of prey and large snakes.
This season is hard to summarize without giving out too many spoilers; so here’s just a quick look at the 13 Episodes of Season 3:
Episode 1 – On Dangerous Ground – The Whiskers have new neighbors and rivals, the Zappa clan. Are you ready for this? The dominant male’s name is Frank. For those not familiar with Frank, he was a musician. Food becomes scarce in the Whiskers’ territory.
Episode 2 – The Mission – The Whiskers have a face-off with the Zappa clan. Flower heads up a rescue mission to find her pups in the Zappa territory.
Episode 3 – Sister Act – Kinkajou plays out a real-life drama.
Episode 4 – The Death of Romance – Roving lover-boy, Houdini, has his sights set high on the dominant female, Flower.
Episode 5 – Tale of Len and Squiggy (Flower’s two new pups) – Flower mysteriously disappears; and Rocket Dog must take the lead.
Episode 6 – Sibling Rivalry/The House of Zappa – Lola and Punk of the Zappa clan face off.
Episode 7 – Heavy the Crown – Flower has a lot of responsibility to keep the Whiskers gang together. There is a drought; and food is scarce. Flower returns from a foraging trip and finds the Commandos in her territory.
Episode 8 – Journey’s End – Flower gives birth to her third litter of the year. The Whiskers confront the Zappa clan again.
Episode 9 – A New Day – The Whiskers gang is having trouble with the chain of command.
Episode 10 – Farewell My Lovely – Roving males sometimes lead hazardous and lonely lives.
Episode 11 – Three Degrees of Separation – The Whiskers pups go on a foraging trip. The Starsky gang falls on hard times.
Episode 12 – The Graduate – Roving males and lone females have a tough time on the Kalahari.
Episode 13 – A Family at War – The Whiskers gang now has more than 50 members! There is a competition for leadership.
I cannot recommend this series enough. The editing is superb and tells a spellbinding story that’s dramatic, suspenseful, funny and tragic. Parents will have to decide what age is appropriate for a child to watch this series. Some may feel comfortable in letting their children see nature just as it is…Others may not want to expose young children to certain episodes.
I highly recommend that you watch the first two episodes before watching the third.
This series is available on DVD and is Not Rated.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my review; and I’m positive that most viewers will find themselves totally immersed in the lives of these tiny creatures. 5+++ Stars!
Meerkat Manor - Season One
Meerkat Manor - Season Two
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