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These adorable baby meerkats swarmed a photographer in Botswana

And the result are amazing.


Burrard-Lucas Photography via Facebook

Meet Will Burrard-Lucas, a professional wildlife photographer from the United Kingdom. He's also a world-class meerkat whisperer, as you can see from these incredible photos taken in the Makgadikgadi region of Botswana.

Meerkats are a type of mongoose found in the savannas and deserts of southern Africa. They’re highly social animals and live in groups of two or three families called “mobs,” numbering as many as 30 individuals. 


Burrard-Lucas Photography via Facebook

Meerkats emerge from their underground burrows to bask in the sun. They spend the rest of their day foraging for food — taking turns standing guard, on the lookout for hawks, eagles, jackals and other predators.  

“The sentries remain at their posts for hours at a time, regularly alerting the group to potential dangers with little squeaks,” notes BBC Nature. When the alarm sounds, the meerkats scamper to their burrows for safety. 


Burrard-Lucas Photography via Facebook

Since meerkats are only a foot tall, they stand on their hind legs to see over the tall grass. When possible, they like to seek out the highest vantage points to get a better view of their surroundings. 

And they've learned that wildlife photographers make excellent lookout posts


Will Burrard-Lucas via Facebook

While the meerkats are completely wild, notes Burrard-Lucas, they’ve learned that humans aren’t a threat and have become habituated to their presence. “This means it is possible to gain their trust and get really close to them,” he says.

Really, really close.


Will Burrard-Lucas via YouTube

In fact, it can be tough to take decent photos of meerkats when they’re always climbing on top of you.


Will Burrard-Lucas via YouTube

The highlight of his six-day visit? Getting to know the three-week-old baby meerkats who emerged from their den just a day into his trip. Since Burrard-Lucas had always been around, they accepted him as part of their environment.


Burrard-Lucas Photography avia Facebook

“In the days that followed I watched as they explored the outside world and grew in confidence,” says Burrard-Lucas. “By the time I left they had become little troublemakers, terrorizing the local insect population and treating me like their own private plaything!” 


Will Burrard-Lucas via YouTube

They even took “a few liberties” with his camera.


Burrard-Lucas Photography avia Facebook

See more of his stunning photography involving meerkats and other African wildlife on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and his website.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/140414/adorable-baby-meerkats-photographer-botswana