Meer Mortal

Meer Mortal

A male of 'simples' pleasures whose passing has caused a conundrum

This month Gallery acknowledges the male of the species.

With each passing generation, the post-war male has worked hard to distance himself from the stereotypes: chauvinistic, patriarchal, sex-obsessed, etc. And so Gallery doffs its cap to a truly modern man and figurehead of his community, who sadly passed away in October 2010. Nelson (father of 48) was the dominant male of the ‘discovery desert’ meerkat enclosure at Durrell.

Much like the modern Jerseyman, Nelson lived a full and active life – and contributed tirelessly to the community he represented. Sources say he was instrumental in shaping the environment in which he and the other meerkats lived. His daily routine included digging burrows, watching for predators, sunbathing and socialising (mostly having break-neck sex with his relatives).

Following Nelson’s death, aged 12, Durrell’s website revealed that keepers were “a little concerned about how the rest of the group would deal with the loss of the dominant male”. Initial signs were that the mob were “keeping well” but were being “closely monitored” to see if a natural successor arose within the group.

Cameras placed at strategic locations showed how events unfolded. Having tapped the phones in the burrow, keepers learned of a meeting between representatives of the various branches of the family, to be held in the back room of a launderette in Cheapside.

Dons from the Chicago, New York and Sicily chapters later conducted a secret ballot in the cloakroom of La Capannina. A power struggle ensued between Gerald (Nelson’s son) and Trigger (second cousin). Sources say a third contender (Bruce) declared himself out of the running after he woke up to find a vole’s head on his pillow.

Keepers say Bruce, who made a desperate bid to dig for the lemur enclosure, initially lost weight and developed the shakes, but has recently perked up after securing a bit part on a car insurance commercial.

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