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Whiskers Mob

Whiskers in Apr06.jpg

Date of Forming
April 1998
Founders
Dominant Female(s)
Dominant Male(s)
Current Dominant Female
Current Dominant Male
Number of Members
17
Pregnant Meerkat(s)
None
Evicted Meerkat(s)
None
Roving Meerkat(s)
Hay-Hay
Absent Meerkat(s)
Hay-Hay
Pup(s)
5

The Whiskers Mob was founded in 1998 by four Young Ones females, two Lazuli rovers, and a wild meerkat who had been released from Van Zylsrus. Holly and Argon took dominance and remained as leaders until 2000. After Holly died, Risca took dominance alongside Beetle. In 2001, eleven Vivian rovers joined the Whiskers. Izit won dominance over Basil, despite Basil being older. However, both Risca and Izit lost dominance and left to form the Gattaca. The next dominant pair was Vialli and Zaphod, but Vialli's reign was short. After Vialli died in 2002, Flower won dominance. Shortly afterward, Yossarian overthrew Zaphod and fathered some of Flower's pups, but a year later Yossarian was overthrown by Zaphod, who became the long-term dominant male. In 2004, filming for Meerkat Manor began; it followed the lives of the family for four years. Flower and Zaphod reigned until 2007 when Flower sadly succumbed to a snake bite. Her daughter Rocket Dog became the next dominant female. Zaphod and many males eventually left the Whiskers. A natal male named Zarathustra took dominance, followed by another natal meerkat named Machu Pichu. Both left the group to rove. After Rocket Dog died in 2008, Ella established dominance and she was soon joined by a single Lazuli rover named Thundercat. The group was very low in numbers at the time for the next few years. Ella disappeared in mid-2011, and in her absence, female dominance switched from Oriole to Enili. The Whiskers' numbers dwindled until in early 2013 males from the Cavemen joined the group. Sadly, in September 2013, Enili was hit by a car and died. For the rest of the year, the group was without a dominant female and Snowy was eventually replaced by Rufio. In January 2014, Pe'ahi took dominance. Many Whiskers meerkats have gone on to form other large groups, such as the Baobab, Aztecs, and Van Helsing, and many members have become dominants in other groups, making the Whiskers meerkats among the most successful mobs to be studied by the Kalahari Meerkat Project.

Dominant Pair

Holly and Argon were the first dominant couple of the Whiskers. After Holly's death in 2000, Argon left the group. Risca and Beetle became the next dominant pair, but Beetle eventually left to go roving. Then eleven Vivian males joined the group. Izit took dominance next to Risca but both of them lost their positions to Vialli and Zaphod. Vialli only had one litter before she died. Flower became the next dominant female. In 2003 Yossarian overthrew Zaphod. He fathered two litters with Flower before Zaphod reclaimed dominance. Flower and Zaphod led the group for four years. Flower sadly died in January 2007 and her daughter Rocket Dog became her successor. Zaphod started to go roving. In his absence, Mitch acted as the dominant male. Drew of the Commandos joined the group and briefly took dominance, but Zaphod returned and chased him out. Zaphod stayed the dominant male until mid-2007 when he left and joined the Aztecs. Zarathustra took dominance beside Rocket Dog, but he too left and joined the Commandos. Machu Pichu took dominance after him. After Rocket Dog died, Ella became the dominant female. Machu Pichu left to join the Lazuli and kicked out Thundercat, who joined the Whiskers, where he took the position of the dominant male. Ella disappeared in mid-2011; while she was away, Oriole became the dominant female. When Ella returned, she was unable to reclaim dominance. Oriole was then overthrown by Enili. Thundercat remained the dominant male until 2012 when he took to roving. Thundercat's son Marxxs took up dominance in his place. Upon Marxxs' disappearance, his younger brother Bearslayer took up dominance. A group of Lazuli rovers joined the Whiskers in late 2013. Bearslayer submitted to Snowy, allowing him to become the new dominant male. In September 2013, Enili was sadly hit by a car. The two remaining females were unable to settle dominance and in November, Snowy was ousted by Rufio. By the end of 2013, the group was still without a dominant female; however, in January 2014, Pe'ahi finally took up the position of dominant female. In October 2014, Brea overthrew Rufio and became the dominant male. In September 2015, Pe'ahi was predated and Swift became the dominant female. 

Current Members

Swift (collared) and Pe'ahi

Whiskers have 17 members as of December 2018.

Swift (VWF176) Dominant Female

Brea (VLM157) Dominant Male

Cleo (VWM205)

Hay-Hay (VWM207)

Clyde (VWM208)

Bonnie (VWF209)

Pixie (VWM211)

Bones (VWF212)

Scuzi (VWM213)

Lilac (VWM214)

Crimson (VWF215)

Jay A Rod (VWM216)

Saspa (VWF217)

VWP219

VWP220

VWP221

VWP222

VWP223

Whiskers Foundation Mobs

During the Whiskers' 20+ year existence, several splinter mobs have been created by roving males and evicted females.

Hobgoblin Mob was a short-lived mob formed in June 2001 by two evicted females and ten males who had been displaced by the Vivian rovers that joined the Whiskers. The mob was soon lost in March 2002.

Gattaca Mob was formed in November 2001 by two evicted Whiskers females and three Vivian males. After the second dominant female Risca passed away, none of the Gattaca females succeeded her, and the group dwindled until it was finally lost in August 2007. Some evicted Gattaca females later went on to form the Commandos Mob.

Asphodel Mob was a short-lived mob formed in July 2002 by four evicted Whiskers and two wild rovers. The mob was lost later that year, but its last remaining female ended up being accepted into the Vivian.

Starsky Mob was a short-lived mob formed in August 2006 by four evicted Whiskers females, two Lazuli males and one Young Ones male. The group's numbers began to dwindle due to TB and the Starsky was officially declared lost when its last remaining member was predated in April 2007.

Aztecs Mob was formed in March 2007 by eight Whiskers females and one male. In late 2012, the mob's numbers began to dwindle following a group split and the mob was officially lost in February 2013 when its last remaining female managed to join an Aztecs splinter known as the Mayans.

Incas Mob was a mob formed in March 2007 by five roving Whiskers males. The mob was very short-lived as all its members ended up joining the Aztecs.

Kung Fu Mob was formed in November 2007 by two evicted Commandos females (one of Gattaca origin), two Whiskers males, a few wild males and one Frisky male. The mob was lost in March 2015 when its last remaining adult was euthanized due to TB, and the two remaining individuals were too young to wear a collar.

Baobab Mob was formed in December 2007 by four evicted Whiskers females and three wild males. The Baobab lasted until October 2018 when the last remaining female died from TB, but the mob had several splinters of its own during its existence.

Van Helsing Mob was formed in January 2008 when three Whiskers females along with four pups teamed up with two wild males. The mob was ravaged by disease over the years and was declared lost in August 2019 when its last two remaining adult females died from TB.

Toyota Mob was formed in January 2008 by three Whiskers females and three wild males. One female and two subordinate males later left and formed the Sequoia. The group was lost in May 2014 following the death of its only collared meerkat.

Sequoia Mob was formed in July 2008 by a Commandos female, a Whiskers female who was ex-dominant female of the Toyota and two subordinate Toyota males. The mob was lost in September 2013 when the last dominant female had to be euthanized due to disease and the remaining members dispersed.

PK Mob was a short-lived mob formed in October 2008 by two Whiskers males, a wild male, an evicted Elveera female and two sub-adults. The PK was declared lost in February 2009 when the dominant female was found dead.

Queens Mob was a short-lived mob formed in April 2012 by five evicted Whiskers females (one of which was the ex-dominant female) and two wild males. All but one member became infected with disease and the group was no longer followed. In August 2012, the last Queens' member was seen hanging around in Pandora territory but was showing symptoms of TB.

Rivals

When the Whiskers first formed in 1998 their main rivals were Young Ones, Lazuli, Elveera, and Vivian. Three years later the Gattaca was founded and became their new rivals. Over the next few years, Vivian moved away from the Whiskers and Commandos became the Whiskers new rivals. Soon Elveera and Lazuli moved away from the Whiskers and the Aztecs, made up of Whiskers meerkats, became the group's new rivals. In 2008 the Young Ones died out, and Kung Fu replaced them as the Whiskers' new rivals. Afterwards, the Commandos moved away and the Sequoia, Toyota, and Überkatz formed near the Whiskers. In 2013, the Ewoks, JaXX, and Chalibonkas became rivals to the Whiskers. Throughout 2014 and into 2015 the Ewoks were the Whiskers' biggest rivals. 

Filming

The Whiskers became famous on the hit Animal Planet series Meerkat Manor. The series ran from 2005 to 2008 over fifty-three episodes and four seasons. The documentary followed the life of the Whiskers, initially led by Flower and Zaphod, over the many trials of meerkat life. The show was a huge success, earning many film awards and multiple DVD releases. Its success led to the making of a movie called Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins, which focused on Flower's rise to power, and a book titled Meerkat Manor: Flower of the Kalahari. The show was considered the most-viewed program on Animal Planet, but was cancelled after its fourth season for unstated reasons. A sideline documentary called Ella: A Meerkat's Tale was released in 2005. It used footage from Meerkat Manor to retell the events from season 1 but from the point of view of Ella(Baddiel) who played as Tosca on the original show.

The Whiskers made a brief appearance in Clan of the Meerkats as the rivals to the Kung Fu, however, none of the mobs were stated by name.

The Whiskers were visited again in early 2011 to be filmed for Planet Earth Live. The main focus of the show was on young Swift and her Uncle Ernesto. Later in 2012, the same footage and cut-footage was used to make the documentary A Meerkat's Tale. The hour-long film followed the Whiskers, led at the time by Enili and Thundercat, and how they raised their young during a harsh drought. The story mostly focused on Swift and how she learned to be a meerkat.

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