Together with Prof. Tim Clutton-Brock and Prof. Marta Manser, I have decided to end the Friends of the KMP membership program.
We will no longer accept new Friends nor renew FKMP memberships. The existing memberships will however remain active for their entire term.
The KMP and FKMP website will of course stay online and will be updated as needed. The Meerkatter and Life History tables will continue to be published over the coming months, but will then only be circulated to a smaller audience, on a less frequent schedule. The Friends burrow will eventually be closed. It will still be possible to visit the KMP field site in a one-week or Sunday visit. And last but not least, those of you who wish to contribute to support the KMP are kindly invited to do so with a donation.
Let me reassure you that this decision was anything but lightly taken. The efforts on part of the KMP life history volunteers to prepare the Friends reports have grown too big for to the audience reached. And for myself, the efforts needed have started to exceed my own capacity over the past year or two, besides my family and a demanding job.
The (F)KMP has been an important part of my life for the past 13.5 years and I am proud of what we built and achieved together. We have seen meerkats come and go, dominants raise and fall, meerkat groups form, grow and dwindle – is it fate that Whiskers and Lazuli have marked the FKMP’s beginning, and keep going on? But like many of you, our Friends, the FKMP has not only given me the chance to learn a lot about meerkats and their behaviour, get access to interesting research data, and contribute funds to KMP research – but also to get to know interesting and kind people all around the world.
I am very grateful to Tim and Marta for their open-mindedness when sharing scientific data with the public was still a bit of a no-no in the research world, and their generous support for the FKMP over the years. A Thank You too to the many Life History volunteers and KMP researchers who gathered and prepared data for the reports and website. The FKMP would also not have been the success it was without a handful of dedicated volunteers around the globe. Above all go my thanks out to Pronker who has been the good soul in our Burrow from the very beginning, helping with everything from membership administration, meticulously proofreading group chronologies, managing the forum to making up texts for the KMP Christmas cards… Last but not least thank you to all Friends who have supported us over all these years, and thank you for your understanding now. It’s been a great experience working with you, and for the FKMP!
Some of the long-term Friends may remember that it was Shakespeare (VWM054) who kind of kicked off the Friends of the Kalahari Meerkat Project adventure in early 2006 – so let me close with a Shakespeare quote: ‚Though she be but little, she is fierce.‘ We have learnt so much more than this about meerkats over the years, yet it still holds true.
The December LH files are a bit late – my apologies for this.
December is the peak of breeding time – so this report is all about pregnancies and pups! Of 23 females pregnant at the beginning of the month, five dominant females gave birth to a successful litter: Jaxx’ Baloo (6 pups), Elrond Council’s Tayl Baez (5 pups) and Whiskers’ Swift. The litters of Zulus’ Poma and Make-a-Plan’s Bridget were yet to emerge on New Years Eve. The success of Swift’s litter remained unclear for a while, with only faint lactation marks (i.e. sand sticking to her nipples) for good old Swift, but 5 pups emerged! They are yet to be named.
Lazuli’s Filthy Mac Nasty and Ubuntu’s Daisy were less successful, their litter was lost. Habituation group Freetails’ dominant female Floob unfortunately lost her litter too – and her male.
There has only be little rain this month, let’s hope the rest of the rainy season will be better.
All of us are sent messages about data protection and privacy these days, by any website we’ve ever registered with. kalahari-meerkats.com is no exception…
Our website’s aim is to share information about the meerkats and the KMP project with the public, and definitely not to collect loads of personal information of our website visitors or do fancy analytics of what you do on our site. But some of our services – e.g. registering as a Friend, enquiring about a visit or similar – require that you share a bit of data with us. And we want to make sure that you know what types of data we collect, what we do with it and why.
The background of this may be the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR), taking effect on 25 May, 2018, that intends to protect citizens of EU countries from excessive or unwanted data collection – but it is important to us that all of our website visitors feel safe with what we, as a small society and research project, do with data you share with us.
A very happy Thanksgiving to all our American Friends and website visitors!
As usual at this time of the year, the brand new 2018 KMP Meerkats calendar is up for sale in our Zazzle store, www.zazzle.com/fkmp-store
The KMP researchers, volunteers and Friends visitors again contributed last year’s most awesome, amazing, impressive and sweet KMP meerkat photos for our 2018 calendar!!! Lots of pups (including both Whiskers litters of the year), legendary meerkats like Swift (dominant female at Whiskers) and Egg (dominant female at Van Helsing) or an exciting encounter of the Baobab group with a deadly puff adder… Hope you’ll enjoy these meerkats throughout 2018.
On special request, there is also a range of brand new Mozart products available: cards with postage, pendant and necklace, and stickers. Hope you like them…
As always, at least 15% of our sales will go to support meerkat research at the Kalahari Meerkat Project.