A baby meerkat at Perth Zoo has disappeared, with keepers fearing it has been stolen or taken by a predatory bird.
The zoo had been celebrating the birth of the meerkitten, which was born on August 20 as part of a regional breeding program.
The baby meerkat spent its first four weeks in the nest box, but had recently started venturing out on exhibit, the zoo said.
Perth Zoo was planning to hold a public event on Thursday to mark the meerkitten’s birth, but keepers discovered the animal was missing during Wednesday evening rounds.
A spokeswoman said staff had been monitoring the meerkat group throughout the day and the meerkitten was sighted about 30 minutes before the evening checks.
These photos and the video below were shot by the ABC on Wednesday, and are the last ones taken of the meerkitten before its disappearance.
The incident is being investigated, but the zoo said it was possible the baby meerkat was taken by a predatory bird, which is a problem for meerkittens born in zoos and in the wild.
But it was also possible it was stolen.
Meerkats require specialised diets and care and the zoo is appealing for the meerkitten to be returned urgently if it has been taken.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the zoo.