By Cub Reporter Jessica Beyda
Meerkat Manor is a show on Animal Planet that shows a meerkat family and their struggle to survive in the Kalahari. This documentary is no ordinary documentary; it’s more of a soap opera with real animals and real problems that they experience.
The executive producer, Mick Kaczorowski, stated that the reason for choosing meerkats was "because meerkats are more like humans than most animals because they live in families their entire lives."
One other thing that makes the show more like a soap opera is that the meerkats are very sneaky. Meerkats like to rebel and go against the pack at times, but a lot of the time, they can be kicked out of the pack for it.
"Meerkats are hard to find and are only found in the Kalahari." Mick Kaczorowski said "it’s a very long drive out to the desert and that the cameramen have to get to the meerkats’ home before they awake."
The reason for this is because the meerkats don’t know that the cameramen are people. The meerkats are so used to the people being there that they think of the people as trees or other things in their environment. The meerkats are actually so used to the people that they climb on them, like trees!
Mick Kaczorowski and his team have been studying these meerkats for 13 years! After that amount of time, he said that the meerkats have grown on them, making it hard for them to let the meerkats get hurt or watch them die. But, unfortunately, because it is the laws of nature, they have to. Mick stated that it’s hard to watch it happen, but they must be technical in the field. There are about 40 meerkats to watch out for and some of them will pass.
There are many difficult aspects of this show. First of all, the cameramen have to wake up very early so that they can get the meerkats’ home before six. Also, they endure the same weather conditions as the meerkats, including 100 and over degree weather. There is also a huge editing process that edits September through February filming into a season worth of film. And although Mick has no experience in animal science, he has been a film editor for over 14 years.
Meerkat Manor has been on Animal Planet for 3 seasons now with Sean Austin as the narrator. This season, Stockard Channing is the new narrator of the show. Meerkat Manor is not dramatized but still has all the drama as a soap opera. It’s an amazing show that shows an average meerkat family, their neighbors, their environment, and their fight to endure the harshness of the Kalahari.