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Meerkats number one for zoo visitors

A poll by visitors to Schönbrunn about their favourite animal has seen the meerkat family voted number one.

Many had predicted that either the giant panda family with cub or maybe the elephant family would win the vote – but in the end it was the meerkats with their enormous energy that proved the winner.

Second most popular were the red pandas closely followed by the tigers in third place.

Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said she was as surprised as other people about the vote but said in retrospect it was perhaps not so surprising.

She said: "the adult meerkats never sit still for five minutes – there is always something going on and there are lots of young in the family. And the youngsters are really sweet especially when they play with each other all dig holes in the sand. It also interesting when they stand up to eat and keep an eye out for danger. "

She said that the meerkat colony is also a lot easier to see since it was moved to the ape enclosure.

Last time there was a vote in 2001 the elephants were the most popular. This time round the elephants only managed fifth place. The only birds to be in the top 10 were the penguins.

A total of 30 different animals took part in the vote. In fourth place were the pandas, fifth were the elephants, six the sea lions, seven the penguins, eight the wolves, the anteater was number nine and the lemurs number ten.

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