Someone stole a meerkat from the Perth Zoo because he thought it would 'be cool as a pet'
Perth Zoo

One person fell in love with a meerkat on his trip to the zoo and actually did what most people would only joke about: he took it home with him.

Less than 24 hours before a baby meerkat was officially introduced to the public, it disappeared from the Perth Zoo in Australia. After the meerkat went missing, zookeepers believed it was either taken by a predator or stolen, so they began searching for it.

Two days later, the meerkat was found in Beverley, which is over 80 miles from Perth. The meerkat was taken by Jesse Ray Hooker, who thought the animal would "be cool as a pet." He scooped up the animal from its enclosure and put it in a cooler bag, playing loud music to hide the its yelps for help. "[He thought] it was very cute indeed," Chad Silver, Hooker's lawyer, said. "He fell in love with it." Technically, he's not wrong, but it's also not a reason to take an animal from the zoo.


RELATED: People can't stop laughing at this video of Japanese zoo employees practicing a lion escape drill

After the meerkat was returned, the zoo posted a photo of the animal on Instagram.

Once he was returned, the zoo was worried they might have problems reintroducing him to his family. "He was very stressed and tired and hungry, just like any bub that's been away from mum," Senior vet Simone Vitali said when he was returned. "But after an evening of getting his favorite foods and getting a bit of warmth and a bit of quiet, he's really bounced back quite well, so we're quite happy with his progress so far."

Now the meerkat is now doing just fine. "Our meerkat kit, Salama, is doing well with the rest of the meerkat mob. He is growing fast and currently weighs around 500 grams," Perth Zoo's executive director Wendy Attenborough told The West Australian.

RELATED: Why this zoo is trying to talk Toys R Us mascot 'Geoffrey the Giraffe' out of retirement

Hooker was fined $4,000 for taking the animal. He also wrote an apology letter and offered to do community service at the Perth Zoo. According to Attenborough, the zoo decided they "will not be taking up his offer to do community work at Perth Zoo." That's probably a good call.

Now that the meerkat is back at the zoo, everyone can enjoy his cuteness — as long as you look but don't touch.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less