05th Sep 2007, by Andrew Barr

10 Yetis Spots Another Slow News Day - Meerkat pictures a fake

Summer is officially over but still the fluffy filler stories are coming thick and fast.

Today I saw a great story from the wardens of Longleat Animal Park who reckon that when they left their camera in the Meerkat section the little furry dude took control and come back with some wonderful pictures. Apparently when the wardens came back they found 3 pictures on the digital memory card.

I laughed when I read this in the Metro. You would expect the Metro to run it as they are a fun paper to read. I still smiled when I saw it in the Times. When I got to the Mail and it was in there as well I thought, "what is going on".

South West News Service (a newswire based in Bristol), picked this up and sent it off to the nationals who all ran it.

Meerkat Snapper
The Meerkat scam

I don't know who Longleat use for its Public Relations, but they are good!

HOWEVER... shock horror it has all been revealed as a hoax! The head warden let slip to a photographic mag that it was a "slight hoax" and the camera shown in the media pics was an old style film camera and not the digital one as was told to the media.

Reminded me of the story a few years ago when they banned zebra striped Smart cars & Mini's from going through the lion enclosure as the wardens reckoned they were getting attacked by the big cats.

So a tip for all PR's there, as well as using phrases like "wardrobe malfunction" when a client gets in trouble we can also say it may have been a "slight hoax".

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