Mystic Meerkats return to predict World Cup 2023
‘Mystic Meerkats’ return to predict a paw-some win for the Lionesses
A mob of meerkats at Drusillas Park in Sussex have developed a special method for predicting the results of England’s football games, and correctly predicted a number of games in the run up to the Lionesses’ triumph in the 2022 Euro’s. With England through to the Round of 16 after a spectacular 6-1 defeat against China, the meerkats have now spoken on Monday’s match against Nigeria, and they are going for an England win!
Using two buckets of treats - each with a team's flag on - the meerkats are left to choose which bucket they would prefer to eat from, and the bucket surrounded by the most meerkats is declared the predicted winner.
The now dubbed ‘Mystic Meerkats’ have been predicting scores since 2021, and have now become quite practiced in their psychic abilities. Last year they were invited onto Heart FM with Jamie Theakston and Zoe Hardman during the Women’s Euros and correctly predicted the results all the way to the finals. Keepers today asked the mob to employ their psychic powers to predict who will win Monday’s game – and the meerkats were in no doubt about their choice!
Although it might seem a strange activity for meerkats, the activity forms part of the zoo’s daily enrichment programme, which makes sure all the animals enjoy a diverse diet in imaginative and unusual ways. The activities encourage them to think and work for their food, like they would in the wild - and it's now become a bit of a tradition at the zoo and the meerkats run over excitedly when they see the buckets.
Head Keeper Gemma Romanis said: “We’ve got lots of football fans in the team and always like to get behind the squad and show our support. We’ve been doing this for a while now and the meerkats get so excited when they see us setting it up – even our new baby, Reggie who is only a couple of months old was in on the action. We are so proud of our Lionesses so it would be amazing for England to win as the meerkats have predicted!"
Gemma continued: “They sometimes take a while to settle on a decision with interest in each of the buckets, but today they are full of optimism and went straight for England and Nigeria barely got a look in. We also gave them some footballs to play with, and being naturally curious and playful they had a great time rolling them around - although their ball skills aren’t exactly note-worthy and they should probably stick to predicting rather than playing!”
Let’s hope they are correct, and the mystic meerkats can work their charms and predict more games as the tournament continues.