How do you like the look of my lunch Anna prepared for me last weekend? I think it looks nice and it is very healthy - lots of vitamins. It was very welcomed by me as fruits are quite refreshing on a hot day. I also like it as it is a creative way of serving food. Food doesn't have to boring, it actually can be fun. How do you like this idea dear Atria?
As you probably know from the News, Stephen Sutton passed away today, aged 19. I am very saddened by this news. Describing this young man as an inspiration is an understatment. I cannot find the right words to tell you about this increadible human being, an exaple to follow for all of us. I don't know how much you know about Stephen's story, but you can find out more on Stephen's Facebook page or on his website stephensstory.co.uk
Stephen Sutton has been battling cancer since the age of 15. On January 13th 2013, shortly after finding out his disease was incurable, Stephen made a Facebook page called “Stephen’s Story”. On the page he outlined a bucketlist of 46 things he wanted to achieve in the near future. Since creating the page Stephen’s following has grown exponentially and he has inspired thousands of others with his positivity and passion for life. He has achieved more than most would in a lifetime; resulting in him winning countless awards in recognition of his inspirational work, taking part in a Guinness world record, and most notably he has raised over £3 million for charity in just over a year. This is not a sob story, this is Stephen’s Story!
This is what he said on his Facebook page just on the 8th May:
And that's what Stephen said about his cancer:
You would know that they are very social animals and they live in groups and that every member of the group has a different role. A few will typically serve as lookouts, watching the skies for birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, that can snatch them from the ground. A sharp, shrill call is the signal for all to take cover. In captivity there aren’t obviously any predators to endanger meerkats, so their behaviour has changed and certainly they will not watch the skies as much as in the wild. Still, when you go to Safari Park or ZOO with an open air meerkat enclosure, you will see one or two of them standing on their rear legs and gazing alertly into the skies.
While a few individuals guard the group, the rest busy themselves foraging for the foods. Meerkats will eat insects, lizards, birds, and fruit. Meerkat groups utilize several different burrows and move from one to another. Each burrow is an extensive tunnel-and-room system that remains cool even under the sun. Females give birth to two to four young each year in one of the group’s burrows. Fathers and siblings help to raise meerkat young, teaching them to play and forage and alerting them to the ever present danger from above.
So, what was my meerkat encounter experience? Well, it was an one hour meeting with a group of meerkats and their keeper. When we arrived, we were divided into groups of four people. Each group was assigned a different keeper and each keeper took their group to a different meerkat enclosure. I went to meet three meerkats living in an indoor enclosure. We went inside their ‘house’. The keeper introduced each meerkat to us, told us a little about each of them and we just kept chatting, asking questions and enjoying their furry company. They were used to people, so they were just walking around, smelling us and carrying on with their normal activities. The keeper gave us some fruits to feed the meerkats and explained that in the wild they mainly eat insects, but in captivity they are being fed with fruits and just a small portion of worms. Apparently worms provide a lot of nutritions and as meerkats in captivity don’t need to hunt and they are not as active as in the wild, they don’t need that much energy. Eating just worms would cause them to gain weight, which is never good for any creature’s health. So, we were giving them fruits (bananas, oranges, grapes, apples) and they were just taking them with their little claws and nibbling a bit. They are clever creatures however, so they knew that if they don’t eat their fruits, they will get some worms! After a small nibble they rejected the rest of the fruits and the keeper told us that this is about the time to give them some worms. He asked us to put couple of worms on the palm of our hand and lower the hand quickly to the ground, so meerkats can reach the food. Well, I have to tell you dear Atria, they love their worms! Sometimes I couldn’t lower my hand fast enough and the meerkats were already jumping on me to get the worms. They are very lively and active creatures, but the speed they were picking up the worms from our hands was incredible! When the worms ration finished meerkats started eating their fruits again - very clever.
The whole feeding experience took half an hour and after that, we were taken to a different building with just a two very friendly meerkats. We sat down on the chairs and the keepers were handing the meerkats to us. The two meerkats were brothers and they were accustomed to being handled, stroked and cuddled by people. They were actually raised by a private breeder and then sold to the Hoo Farm. They were very lively and so cute. You can see in the pictures that they were walking all over me :-) I have some videos as well and I will post them for you later. One interesting thing I learned was that a meerkat probably won’t survive on its own. They are very social animals and they have to live in groups of at least two meerkats. A single meerkat would feel very lonely and would most likely become sick from sadness and could suffer from heart attack - all due to its loneliness. That was an interesting new fact I learned.
The whole experience was wonderful, meerkats were as cute as ever and the keepers were very knowledgeable, open, friendly and responsive. I very much enjoyed my birthday present.
Here you can learn a bit more about the meerkat encounter experience.
I am your dad Atria.