Join National Geographic Fellow and photographer Mattias Klum while he tries to capture images of the wily little mammal of the Kalahari Desert known as the meerkat.

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  • This video was filmed on November 5, 2011 as part of the National Geographic Live! Lecture series at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.


    Noted photographer, filmmaker, and international conservationist Mattias Klum was named a National Geographic Fellow in 2010. In this role, he supports ongoing National Geographic Mission Program's conservation efforts such as Mission Blue, Freshwater Initiative, and Great Energy Challenge, focusing his efforts on critical biodiversity and conservation issues.


    • What is a meerkat? How do meerkats behave? (start-00:44 min.)
    • Tracking meerkat groups (00:45-1:14 min.)
    • Getting up close and personal with meerkats (1:15-2:23 min.)
    • How do meerkats eat millipedes? (2:24-2:56 min.)
    • What happens when a human doesn't smell like a meerkat? (2:57-3:49 min.)

    Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments

    • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).
    • Freeze the video on a relevant image. Have students observe details in the still image and jot down predictions of what the full video might address. Discuss students’ ideas before and after watching the video.
    • Pose an open-ended question before students watch the video, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.
    • Have students determine what they think the key message of this video is. Was the speaker effective in getting his or her message across?
    • Show a short clip to engage students during class, and then have students watch the full video at home and write a paragraph responding to the content or a question you give them.
    • Have students note statements that represent facts or opinions, including where it’s difficult to tell the difference. What further research might help distinguish facts vs. opinions? How might the speaker’s viewpoint compare with others’ viewpoints about a topic?


  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    alpha Noun

    animal having the highest rank in a group.

    apex predator Noun

    species at the top of the food chain, with no predators of its own. Also called an alpha predator or top predator.

    meerkat Noun

    small, burrowing mammal native to southern Africa.

    millipede Noun

    crawling insect with between 20 and 100 segments, each with two pairs of legs.

    predator Noun

    animal that hunts other animals for food.