Surprise meerkat arrival at Wetheriggs Animal Centre

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Media captionKeepers at the centre did not know that the mother was pregnant

Keepers at an animal sanctuary undergoing a relocation made a surprise discovery as they cleared out its meerket pen in readiness for the move.

No-one knew the female at Wetheriggs Animal Rescue and Centre in Cumbria was pregnant until a pup was found in the animal's enclosure.

The pup is too young to be moved, so will be one of the last animals to be transferred over the next few weeks.

The centre is moving from Penrith to a larger site in County Durham.

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Image caption The pup was found when the pen was being cleared out prior to the move

It is the female meerkat's second offspring this year after she recently managed to find her a way into a travel cage, holding a newly-arrived male.

Terry Bowes, from the centre, said: "We believe the female managed to negotiate the carrier.

"He is a good-looking chap and obviously nature has taken its course."

Already 600 animals, birds and insects have been moved to the new site in Barnard Castle, with about 1,000 left to be transported in the coming weeks.

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