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Searching for the Elusive Meerkat

The family that reddits together, stays together -even when they are in different countries. Robotswana posted this picture, saying it's just another day at his Dad's job. Then his father, Todd Pitock, stepped in to explain.

I'm the guy in the photo. I was visiting the Makhadikhadi, which is in the Kalahari in Botswana. People are doing research as part of something called the Meerkat Project. The meerkats are wild but habituated -- meaning they're used to people and don't see them as a threat. So if you sit down and wait, eventually the alpha male, who is like the chief sentry, will mosey over and climb you like a rock. As one poster noted, he's looking for good viewpoints to gauge threats. The photo was NOT photoshopped. In fact, it wasn't even edited for color. And yes, those are my Brooks trail running shoes, and many thanks to the guy who advised on the new generation of them. The story will appear in National Geographic Traveler, though I don't know when. -- Todd Pitock


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