Meerkat Kala, seen here in October, died of old age at the Honolulu Zoo.
Missing zoo meerkat likely died nearby
What ever happened to Hulu the meerkat, who went missing from the Honolulu Zoo last year?
Answer: Honolulu Zoo Director Ken Redman believes Hulu most likely died inside the exhibit.
When Hulu was reported missing in October, the zoo filed a police report in case the animal had been stolen and set bait traps hoping to lure the animal back in case it had escaped. But that thinking has changed.
"I pretty much discount the possibility that it escaped in this amount of time. ... They are a group animal, and he would have stayed right close to his buddy," explained Redman.
Redman considers theft equally unlikely. "Somebody would have called by now -- 'Oh, you know, my cousin has a meerkat.' You can't keep that a secret."
The most likely possibility is that Hulu dug a tunnel and died in it, as meerkats are tunnelers, explained Redman.
"That will never be known, I expect, unless we dig up the exhibit and find the bones there. ... We just haven't dug down into the whole exhibit. ... It would be a whole lot of work because it is fairly deep."
Since then Kapa, the zoo's sole remaining meerkat, has died of old age. The zoo is hoping to bring in a new set of meerkats, including females, to create a self-sustaining population. The biggest hurdle now is the wait for approval from both the state and federal governments, as meerkats are considered "injurious wildlife," Redman explained.
This update was written by Bali Fergusson.
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