Meerkat at Naibi Zoo euthanized due to brain tumor

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Niabi Zoo Meerkats

COAL VALLEY, Illinois — One of the three new meerkats at Niabi Zoo was euthanized earlier this week, says zoo staff.

The meerkat was 5-years-old and was found to be suffering from a rapidly progressing, rare and unpreventable brain tumor. The tumor was causing the meerkat to lose neurological function and was affecting its quality of life, says staff.

“Sadly, all species can fall prey to disease and systematic issues that – while rare – can take a life. The meerkat is no exception. These types of tumors impact neurological functions and are hereditary. Care or environment are not indicated factors in studied diagnosis. It was humane to euthanize, and we are all very saddened by the loss,” said zoo director Lee Jackson.

The meerkat’s tumor was not diagnosed upon arriving at Niabi last October, as it’s nearly impossible to diagnose the condition before symptoms are displayed. The two remaining meerkats do not appear to be showing any symptoms of the same tumor, says staff.

It was a yearlong process to bring the meerkat trio to Niabi from their former home in Texas. A third meerkat will not be introduce into the group, as the animals are territorial and do not accept outsiders, says staff.