Meerkat Manor, a television series now in its 3rd year (with 2 more seasons contracted) following the fortunes of a group of Meerkats has recently attracted sensational viewing figures. So much so that the BBC Natural History Unit that created Blue Planet and Planet Earth is producing a full-length feature film based on the hugely successful precedent of The March of the Penguins, backed by Harvey Weinstein's Weinstein Company. The series follows a group of named individuals and the viewer becomes closely involved in the life-or-death struggles, just like a soap opera, of this curiously attractive and anthropomorphic tribe. To tie in with the success of the television series and the publicity which will accrue from worldwide release of the film the originator of the Meerkat research project, Tim Clutton-Brock, has written an engaging and informative book about these animals and what his research tells us about their world, a world which appears to mirror our own but is in fact driven by the sometimes savage instincts of self-interest and survival.
Tim Clutton-Brock is Prince Philip Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Cambridge. His work focused on the evolution of animal breeding systems and he has studied red deer on the Isle of Rum, Soay sheep on the island of St Kilda and the Meerkats in the southern Kalahari.
He is the co-founder of the Kalahari Meerkat project where his contributions to our understanding of animals is based on patient observation in the field. The series of films for television based on his research have become widespread and popular viewing.