MIGHTY Mite has proved a real fighter after overcoming adversity when she was unusually taken into the care of her father - the dominant male in her group.

The baby meerkat may be only nine-weeks old but she is set to become the latest star at Kirkleatham Owl Centre when she makes her public debut.

Born to the group’s dominant female she was one of a litter of four but sadly the other three babies were stillborn leaving Mighty Mite the lone survivor.

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All was going well for the first few weeks but then tragedy struck when her mother became seriously ill and died before she was weaned, so she had be fed chopped up food which limited her contact with group.

Rebecca Wilkinson, Kirkleatham Owl Centre, said: “It was now that dad Groucho stepped in, he was the group’s top ranking male, he basically had the choice, stay with the group or look after his little daughter and risk losing his top ranking in the strict hierarchy in the process.

“He chose caring for Mighty Mite and separated himself off from the group by moving into one of the indoor enclosures.

“It was a big sacrifice, where you rank in the hierarchy is everything to a meerkat, and when the group were all reunited the other males had grouped together leaving Groucho bottom of the pecking order.

“But when you look at Groucho who his constantly by his baby's side you get the feeling he thinks it was worth it - though Mighty Mite is now somewhat of a handful charging around, digging and picking fights with the mongoose who share their enclosure and Groucho is forever having to rescue his daughter from yet another scrape.”

The Owl Centre has a packed schedule over the school half term break including a daily flying display, meerkat feed and talk, animal encounter sessions and Mighty Mite will be making her debut over the half term holiday.

For more information about the centre’s opening times visit www.kirkleathamowlcentre.org.uk of call 01642-480512.