In these photos from November 29 Jolly Roger is still a healthy and satisfied meerkat.
about one week later the "palace revolution", the cause of which is still unknown and will probably remain so, took place, and two weeks later Jolly Roger was dead.
He was still healthy on the morning of the day when he was later found dead according to the keeper who later found him. In our opinion it would be too much of a coincidence to assume that his death had any other cause than one that is related with the breakdown of the social order in the group. He had been constantly harrassed and driven away for two weeks.
Stubbytail, who used to be a rather passive personality, has established himself as a "Tyrant without a cause", who is showing all signs of extreme dominance but doesn't seem to understand the purpose of being the dominant male (gaining access to the dominant female, and there is no other option for that than Möfzi).
Possibly these problems go back to the fact that the males introduced to the group in Autumn 2002, of which Stubbytail is one, were not properly socialized as pups, being kept apart too long from the company of adult meerkats.
Flat Ears, who was one of only two males who showed clear interest in mating with Möfzi (the other was Jolly Roger) had suffered from Jolly Rogers dominance for years, but until now is showing no clear interest in taking his place. He is not openly aggressive towards Möfzi but does not show any signs of trying to take Jolly Roger's place as breeding partner.
Jolly Roger was not quite six and a half years old at the time of his death. His birth must have been around August 2002. His period as dominant male lasted from summer 2004 until early December 2008. He leaves behind his three children with Möfzi: Sayuri, Snoutie and Caruso.
The current state of the mob is one of anarchy. Yesterday we witnessed a vicious attack by Stubbytail on Möfzi. However during feeding, Möfzi still manages to show her dominance, displacing all competition for access to the best treats. But she doesn't seem to be willing to fight back against the attacks.