Cuddly encounters

Rockhampton councillor Cherie Rutherford gets up close and personal with her cuddly pals.

By Sean Fox

What’s cute, small and young at heart? Meerkats, of course.

Tickets to meet Rockhampton Zoo’s four new furry friends are now on sale.

You can be part of the first animal encounters experience at the venue, after Rockhampton Regional Council announced last week the exciting program would commence from Tuesday April 6.

Councillor for sports, parks and public spaces Cherie Rutherford was thrilled for families that the encounters would be launched during the Easter break.

“I can promise you it’s not going to disappoint,” Cr Rutherford said.

And it seems the zoo’s latest attraction won’t be going anywhere soon.

“To say it’s been well received by the community is almost an understatement,” Cr Rutherford said.

“There has been so much talk, so much excitement, and hundreds of likes and comments on the zoo’s Facebook page since we put out the teaser.

“I cannot wait … to see the joy on people’s faces as they get to know our beautiful Aya, Sabari, Keeya and Mahlia.”

Cr Rutherford revealed each encounter was a 25-minute session.

“During this time you will be in the meerkat enclosure, feed them, take photos; all while learning about them from our amazing keepers,” Cr Rutherford said.

“To the keepers’ credit, the meerkats have grown even more comfortable with new people and it is very likely they will even sit right beside you or right on top of your head.

“For me, what makes this even more special is that all the while, you are also helping animal conservation, with 15 per cent of all ticket sales going directly to projects that support animals in the wild.”

Tickets cost $100 per person, or $300 for a family pass of up to four people.

For full details on the meerkat encounters and complete ticketing information, visit