Meerkat Research

1618486_10154734494565010_2865372017610109481_nThe Kalahari Meerkat Project investigates both ultimate and proximate causes of cooperative breeding in mammals. Longterm data from habituated groups of wild meerkats allow for a variety of empirical questions in evolutionary and behavioural ecology to be investigated at both the individual and population level. Currently, research focuses on the following areas:

  • costs and benefits of cooperative behaviour
  • hormonal regulation of cooperative behaviour
  • demographic consequences of cooperative breeding
  • communication mechanisms and evolution
  • anti-predator strategies
  • patterns of decision-making in cooperative groups

The project was founded in the Kgalagadi National Park (formerly the Gemsbok National Park) in north-west South Africa, but was relocated in 1993 to what became the Kuruman River Reserve (KRR).

The project founder, Prof. Tim Clutton-Brock, is Professor of Animal Ecology of the University of Cambridge and is project director together with Prof. Marta Manser Professor in Animal Behavior at Zurich University (Switzerland).

The project is a cooperation of four research groups:

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