HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Zoo announced it temporarily closed its meerkat exhibit on Thursday, Sept. 9, after a tunnel collapsed around one of the critters, 4-year-old Raphael.
“It is with great sadness the Honolulu Zoo announces the passing of Raphael the meerkat,” Honolulu Zoo director Linda Santos said in a statement.
Raphael was brought with his brothers — Leo and Mikey — from the Toledo Zoo in Ohio in November 2020 and went on display in Honolulu in March 2021 after completing a 120-day quarantine.
Santos confirmed, “As meerkats can dig very deep, the 4-year-old was found in a tunnel which had collapsed around him.”
Honolulu Zoo officials said Leo and Mikey were “safe and accounted for,” after the tunnel collapsed. Zoo staff are examining the habitat and will evaluate the exhibit to ensure the safety of the other meerkats.
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The meerkat exhibit at the Honolulu Zoo “will be temporarily closed until necessary modifications are identified and addressed,” Santos said.