Taronga Western Plains Zoo keeper uses Meerkat Awareness Day to explore the popular species

SPECIAL SPECIES: Taronga Western Plains Zoo meerkat keeper Karen Ellis celebrates World Meerkat Day. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE.

SPECIAL SPECIES: Taronga Western Plains Zoo meerkat keeper Karen Ellis celebrates World Meerkat Day. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE.

Did you know meerkats are fully grown at just six-months-old? This is the kind of information Taronga Western Plains Zoo meerkat keeper Karen Ellis is hoping to share this World Meerkat Day.

"I've looked after the meerkats here for eight years and they're my favourite species," Miss Ellis said.

"My favourite thing about meerkats is how strictly they plan their family.

"There's a dominant female in charge, and she's the only one in the group that's allowed to breed, but they're not endangered in the wild because of how strictly they plan it.

"They're also very complicate, one minute they're friends and the next they're fighting."

Miss Ellis created World Meerkat Day four-years ago to raise awareness around the 'highly popular species'.

The day runs on Friday, July 3.

"It was first celebrated here in Dubbo," Miss Ellis said.

"Most of the animals have a day but meerkats didn't and I'm very passionate about the species so I decided to create one."

"A lot of people love them, they're a popular species, but many people don't know a lot about them, I try to share a little bit of my knowledge on them on the day and try and make people love them just as much as I do."

Taronga Western Plains Zoo now has two meerkat exhibitions, a family of eight and a family of five.

"We're hoping to breed in the future, at the moment we have two non-breeding groups and that's because meerkats are relatives and they won't interbreed with each other.

"Both our groups are sibling groups and we're hoping to get some more in to breed."

Miss Ellis said they hoping to have lots visitors coming in during the July school holidays to see the new exhibition.

"We're giving out free hats that have meerkats on them, and we're encouraging everyone to do a sentry selfie," she said.

"We want you to put the photo of your social media pages using the hashtag sentry selfies."

This story It's World Meerkat Day: Celebrate with a sentry selfie first appeared on Daily Liberal.