And the winning names for the Pets’ Corner meerkats are…

Brodie Skinner, 10, a primary six pupil at Cults Primary was the winner of the naming competition.
Brodie Skinner, 10, a primary six pupil at Cults Primary was the winner of the naming competition.

The winning – and most popular – names for the baby meerkats at Pets’ Corner in Hazlehead Park were today revealed to be… Dee and Don.

The names for the marvelous wee mammals were chosen by primary school children in a competition which had almost 700 entries (692) and the city’s two rivers were the winners.

Dee and Don were put into a hat and a winner was pulled out to get the prize of a free family visitor pass for a year.

Brodie Skinner, 10, a primary six pupil at Cults Primary was the winner so he got to get up closer than normal to the nine-month-old meerkats today by getting into their outdoor area under close supervision by one of the keepers.

He said: “I thought they would be good names for the meerkats as they are local landmarks – the meerkats are very cute.”

Dee, the smaller female, and Don, the male, have proven to be a top attraction since they arrived at Pets’ Corner in July and moved into a custom-built bigger indoor and sleeping area, and large outside play area which features a private meerkat-only underground entrance to the indoor area..

The new area is sited within the new education room at Pets’ Corner, which is an Aberdeen City Council facility.

The building has undergone a £750,000 renovation and expansion this year including a larger area for the fish and reptiles, and creating the education room in the place which used to house the fish and reptiles.

Aberdeen City Council communities, housing and infrastructure convener Councillor Yvonne Allan said: “Dee and Don are great names for the meerkats and were overwhelmingly popular amongst the city’s youngsters.

“Dee and Don have been an amazingly popular attraction since they arrived and I’m sure both our young and old visitors will continue to come and watch their antics in the outside play area.

“They’re situated within the refurbished indoor facility, which has lots of animals of the fishy and scaly varieties to see no matter what the weather is like and we look forward to welcoming lots of people through the doors in the coming months.”

The work at the Aberdeen City Council-run facility included replacement of the roof over both parts of the buildings, internal alterations and refurbishment, the installation of new fish and reptile tanks, new external access ramp and paths, and an upgrade to the staff facilities. Friends of Hazlehead Park also contributed towards the work.

Other animal attractions at Pets’ Corner include alpacas, kune kune pigs, geese, turkey, chickens, sheep, goats, Shetland pony, miniature donkeys, fish, reptiles, budgies, ducks, finches, chipmunks, guinea fowl, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, Gethin the pygmy goat, and Vadar the albino Burmese python.

The opening hours for Pets’ Corner from November to March are from 10am to 3.15pm.