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Note to parents/guardian
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Dear parents or guardians,

We have prepared this note for children and young people who would like to become Friends of the Kalahari Meerkat Project, to inform their parents/guardians about the background and purposes of the Friends of the Kalahari Meerkat Project (FKMP) society.

The Meerkat Manor series by Animal Planet has gained a worldwide audience, and led many people, old and young, to become meerkat enthusiasts. The small mammals, living in the South African Kalahari semi-desert, are endearing to watch, but they also lead a most remarkable social life which has become the focus of a research project, the Kalahari Meerkat Project (KMP) led by the Universities of Cambridge (UK) and Zurich (Switzerland). Researchers have habituated several wild meerkat families to human presence, and have been observing them since 1993, in order to understand why family members look after each others' young, or how they communicate, amongst other questions.

The success of Meerkat Manor has led many fans to a more thorough search for background information about the animals that were filmed for the series. The Kalahari Meerkat Project has responded to this quest for information, and has made a lot of data available on the KMP website. The researchers recently commissioned the Friends of the Kalahari Meerkat society to prepare data about all meerkat groups for publication, in a sponsorship arrangement. Members of the society, i.e. the Friends of the Kalahari Meerkat Project, can with their membership fee, support the KMP's meerkat research, while gaining access to much more information about the meerkat groups. The purpose of the FKMP society is thus two-fold: educate members about the biology and behaviour of meerkats, and support further meerkat research.

We believe that being a member of the FKMP supports educational purposes in several ways:

  • The range of the shared information is very broad, encouraging readers to investigate anything from the meerkats' life history events to scientific publications.
  • The information provides a greater perspective to the events in Meerkat Manor, and puts them in the natural context, helping to understand the sometimes sad events.


The FKMP's member base consists today of meerkat enthusiasts ranging from 12 to over 70 years old. Friends will get exclusive information on chosen meerkat groups, as well as general information about the project's meerkats. Furthermore, an online discussion board is open to Friends exclusively. This moderated board is well frequented by Friends of all ages, who post their questions, comments and concerns about the meerkat groups and the project. Off-topic discussions or solicitation are discouraged. The rules of the discussion board, as well as suggestions to protect privacy, can be made available to parents, on request. Furthermore, the FKMP respects the privacy of applicants and members, and commits to not share personal data with any third party other than the KMP.

For further information we invite you to visit the following websites:
www.kalahari-meerkats.com
friends.kalahari-meerkats.com

For additional details, please refer to the Small Print and Friends FAQ sections at the following site:
http://friends.kalahari-meerkats.com/index.php?id=fkmp

If you have questions to the website, other aspects of being a Friend, or the data your child might see, please contact us via the membership form on this website:
http://friends.kalahari-meerkats.com/index.php?id=106

Thank you for your consideration.

For the FKMP team
Evi Bauer, President


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