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Unlikely friendship at zoo
Hello neighbour: A meerkat eyes up zoo dingo Mirri. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

The tiny meerkat scurries up to the wall of its enclosure and paws at the glass, seemingly intrigued by the huge predator staring back at it.

It is early at Perth Zoo and the meerkats are enjoying what has become a favourite time of day - interacting with dingoes Mirri and Daku on the other side of their enclosure.

The daily visit has become part of the dingoes' stroll before the zoo opens, after zookeepers noticed the meerkats were no longer looking out for predators.

The dingoes' presence initially provoked the expected response, but the 13 meerkats now consider them friends rather than foes. Perth Zoo's Steve Catwell said the meerkats now rushed up to the wall of their enclosure to greet them.

"Mirri, the female dingo, absolutely loves them, she gets hypnotised by them and could watch them all day," Mr Catwell said. "She knows when we are getting close to their enclosure and starts going faster."

He said the unlikely friendship had two benefits - the meerkats were bonding better as a group and the dingoes enjoyed the exercise and seeing the meerkats.

Other zoos walked their dingoes, but Mr Catwell was not aware of any fostering interaction between the two species.