• Duration:
    1 hour
  • Broadcaster:
    BBC Two
  • Executive Producer:
    Jeremy Bradshaw
  • Distribution:
    BBC Worldwide
  • Credit:
    Oxford Scientific Films & Andaman Media

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

This film follows the meerkats of one of the most famous animal families on the planet – the Kung Fu Meerkats of Kuruman in the Kalahari. Squirt, Weeny and their proud mum Kleintjie are  part of a dynasty that has led to feature films and even their own global fan club. But this year they are facing the worst desert drought in a decade, and this story is different. It reveals the human story behind the meerkats.

Studying the destinies of these meerkats is Cambridge Professor Tim Clutton Brock, who started his study here 20 years ago. It’s now a huge project with twenty young volunteer graduates and field scientists trying to unravel the mysteries of meerkat behaviour.

As we follow the King Fu meerkats, and dominant female Kleintjie, we also follow the story of Tim’s meerkat odyssey. We hear the story of his sudden realisation that meerkats could be the perfect animal to study when he saw the BBC’s Meerkats United programme on television two decades ago. He heads out to the Kalahari and starts to follow the meerkats habituated by the film team. Over years, the meerkats gradually let him into their world, and began to reveal the secrets of how and why they co-operate – more than any other mammal on earth. His big breakthrough came when he discovered that meerkats liked eggs, and he and his team were then able to follow hundreds of individual meerkats from birth and throughout their lives. His project has discovered that meerkats have distinct personalities – including a dark side. They have language, teach their young,  solve problems, and have traditions, just as we have traditions such as afternoon tea, and habits like getting out of bed early or late

Kleintjie’s pups Squirt and Weeny are born into the toughest desert conditions, but with almost thirty meerkats in the Kung Fu group to help feed them, they make it through the first critical 6 weeks, and are now well on the way to being full Kung Fu members.

BOOM! That’s the sound of a myth being exploded. The myth that meerkats are darling, cuddly, selfless little creatures. And doing the detonating is Meerkats: Secrets of an Animal Superstar”  Sam Wollaston, The Guardian 


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