On September 26th, Alex, a 31-year-old gray parrot with an
impressive vocabulary and cognitive skills better than some people I’ve met,
died of unknown causes. He was the
subject of decades of research into avian language abilities and could
distinguish between colors, shapes and numbers. He even seemed to understand the concept of "zero."
And about two weeks ago, Flower, the matriarch of the
Whiskers family and star of Animal Planet’s "Meerkat Manor," was
killed by a cobra near her Kalahari desert home. The various clan rivalries and interpersonal
conflicts on the Manor would do any soap opera proud, and Flower’s death hit
the show’s fan base hard. A memorial online
forum has over 5000 posts as of this writing. Discovery Films’ theatrical feature, Flower: Queen of the
Meerkats, hits theaters in 2008; it likely represents the first meerkat biopic
in the history of the universe.
One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic. But a fallen meerkat rocks the entire Animal